The diamond mining industry is in an era of transition, as companies consider how to adapt to the future as the next decade approaches.
“The Canadian Diamond mining industry is in an interesting state,” says Tom Ormsby, APR, Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs at De Beers Canada. “Some of the early (diamond) assets are headed into their sunset years. Victor Mine is headed into closure, Snap Lake is in care of maintenance, and several other mines seem to be coming to the end of their life expectancies.”
May 2019 marked the end of an era for De Beer’s Victor mine, concluding a decade of successful diamond production. In it’s 11-year lifespan, Victor “was forecast to produce six million carats of diamonds over its life, but it beat that by recovering a total of eight million carats – with a record 936,000 carats produced in 2018.” According to Canadian Mining Journal staff on www.mining.com, “the project provided about 1,360 jobs and $3.7 billion of revenue to the province.”
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling,” says Ormsby, who was involved with the opening of the mine.
The Canadian diamond is still a precious commodity, especially in an era of technology. That’s right – diamonds are not just for rings anymore.
Natural Resources Canada states, “Only 20% of the world’s production by weight is used for jewelry. The other 80%, known as ‘bort,’ is used in industrial and research applications. They are also used to dissipate heat in electronic devices.” Their 2017 report concluded that the value of the Canadian diamond mining industry was on the increase, despite individual diamond value decreasing, due to a rise in production.
Natural Resources Canada said the increase was due to a rise in production at the Ekati, Diavik, and Victor mines, the opening of Gahcho Kué, and the opening of Renard. However, the drop in value was because of the significant boost in production, increase in average rough diamond market prices, and 1.9% appreciation of the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar.