Canada: The Diamond Powerhouse

ekati-diamond-mine

Most people can name the top 5 diamond producing countries in the world.   Russia…check.   Australia…absolutely-check.   A trio of African countries Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa…check, check and check.   But did you know Canada is #6 in the world?

What’s interesting about Canada’s place in the diamond world is that the precious stones were not found until the mid-80s with working diamond mines popping up less than a decade later.

Canada has never been a place to find excessively large diamonds, the largest one ever found is a 35-carat stone recovered from the De Beers Victor Mine near Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario in 2013.   The diamond was purchased, cut and polished by Vancouver diamond maker Crossworks.

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Currently there are five mines in operation in Canada.   Three are located north of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories: the Diavik Mine, the Ekati Mine and the Snap Lake Mine.   The aforementioned Ontario-based Victor Mine as well as the Jericho Mine in Nanuvut are the other two Canadian mines.

Royal Alberta Museum 11 Carat Diamond 090315-1

The most recent star of the Canadian diamond world is this 11-carat rough diamond recovered from the Ekati mine.  The stone is currently on display at the Royal Alberta Museum as part of their mineral collection.

According to Melissa Bowerman, assistant curator of geology for the facility, the diamond is going to remain on display as a permanent feature of an expanded mineral exhibit when the new downtown Edmonton location opens as western Canada’s largest museum in December 2017.

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