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World diamond capital forges closer ties with Canada

by Greg Klein | May 8, 2015

Last week’s visit by representatives of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre bodes well for an even closer relationship with the world’s third-largest rough producer by value, the organization announced May 8. Among the mission’s other findings were “strong indications” that Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY “is considering to commercialize its entire production” from the Renard mine, expected to begin production in H2 2017, through the Belgian city. Renard’s projected output of 1.6 million carats a year worth $304 million could mean a 64% increase in Canadian rough on the Antwerp market, the world’s most important diamond trade hub.

De Beers channels its Canadian-extracted gems through the vertically integrated company’s operations in Gaborone, Botswana.

While Canada is already one of the largest diamond mining countries in the world, trailing only Botswana and Russia, the country still has tremendous untapped potential.—Antwerp World Diamond Centre

“Throughout our conversations with the Canadians it was very striking all of them praised Antwerp as a reliable and highly transparent trade partner,” said Antwerp province governor Cathy Berx, following meetings in Montreal, Toronto and Yellowknife. “We clearly share the same values, such as transparency, the importance of correct controls and corporate social responsibility. These shared values can only further strengthen our good relationships.”

Between 2012 and 2014 Canadian production jumped from 1.5 million carats to 3.6 million carats, with their value climbing from $2.5 billion to $3.8 billion, the AWDC stated. “While Canada is already one of the largest diamond mining countries in the world, trailing only Botswana and Russia, the country still has tremendous untapped potential.”

With diamond production concentrated in the Northwest Territories’ Lac de Gras region, Canada’s largest operation is Dominion Diamond’s (TSX:DDC) majority-held Ekati mine followed by Rio Tinto NYE:RIO/Dominion’s Diavik and De Beers’ Snap Lake. Gacho Kué, a De Beers/Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV joint venture considered to be the world’s largest diamond development project, has production scheduled for H2 2016. De Beers also operates the Victor mine in northern Ontario. Renard will be Quebec’s first diamond mine.

Of global rough diamond supply, 84% currently passes through Antwerp, as does 50% of all polished diamonds, according to the AWDC.

Read about diamond supply and demand.

Read about diamond mining in Canada.

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