Updated Diamond Policy Framework

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

February 17, 2011 - The Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Investment, Bob McLeod, provided an update on the Diamond Policy Framework.
 


 


Mr. Speaker, mining and diamond mining, in particular, is a cornerstone of the economy in the Northwest Territories. Today I would like to highlight a significant achievement of this Government, the updating of the Diamond Policy Framework. This updated framework will continue to support and encourage the growth of the diamond manufacturing industry in the Northwest Territories by providing a more streamlined and flexible approach, including reducing the red tape associated with the approval process for gaining Approved Northern Manufacturer Status.

Diamond mineral exploration and production has brought significant economic opportunities to our Territory. But it’s not just exploration and production that provides employment opportunities to Northwest Territories residents and increases the world wide recognition of northern diamonds. The secondary diamond industry also plays an important role in diversifying and developing the economy of the Northwest Territories, a key goal of this Assembly.

In 1999, the Government of the Northwest Territories implemented the first Diamond Policy Framework, a policy that facilitated the establishment of a diamond manufacturing industry in the Northwest Territories. We have learned a lot during the past decade. We have learned what works, what doesn’t, what we can offer and perhaps most importantly, what we want from the secondary industry for the people of the Northwest Territories. The diamond industry has changed a lot since the first diamond came out of the ground at the Ekati mine in 1998, and this policy framework has been updated to reflect current operational realities and lessons learned.

Updating this diamond policy framework was a major accomplishment for our government and it required consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. I want to thank the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, Government of the Northwest Territories departments, the operators in the Northwest Territories diamond manufacturing industry, the Northwest Territories diamond mines and the City of Yellowknife for their input and involvement in establishing.

The diamond value-added industry does not only include the cutting and polishing. Valuing and sorting the rough diamonds produced from the Ekati, Diavik and Snap Lake mines is also an important part of the industry. Diamond tourism also has a lot of potential. For example, the cutting and polishing demonstrations you see at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre. The updated Diamond Policy Framework supports this secondary diamond industry by endorsing the production of cut and polished diamonds here in the Northwest Territories, and promotes diamond tourism and jewellery production.

We know that diamond manufacturing operations must be sustainable and they must be well capitalized and follow sound business practices. The Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to provide support to the secondary diamond industry through programs provided by the Business Development and Investment Corporation and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment such as the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Policy.

Mr. Speaker, we have the building blocks for a sustainable industry, the Approved Northern Manufacturer program, a ten-year plus supply of high-quality diamonds from our mines, and arrangements with the mines to provide a portion of their rough diamonds to our approved northern manufacturers. We also have our Northwest Territories Certification Program, which is highly sought after by manufacturers, and our Polar Bear Diamond brand trademark. These are all things that we know work well and are still included as part of the updated Diamond Policy Framework.

The updated Diamond Policy Framework enhances the efforts of this government to build a sustainable diamond manufacturing industry, diversify our economy and maximize benefits for Northwest Territories residents, and we look forward to seeing the long-term benefits of this policy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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For more information, contact:

Press Secretary
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302