'Diamonds really did save the Northwest Territories' – mines minister

The Northwest Territories mines minister says diamond miners are returning to the Northwest Territories.

"We've seen a lot of people who were involved with the initial diamond rush in the early '90s come back to us," says David Ramsay, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Northwest Territories. He met with MINING.com at Roundup in late January.

"These guys know that there are more diamonds there."

Ramsay notes that there three operating diamond mines in the Northwest Territories. A fourth is set to open in Q4 2016 at Gahcho Kué, which is owned by De Beers.

"It's a big diamond mine, 4.5 million carats annually."

Ramsay emphasized the importance of mining to the Northwest Territories.

"Yellowknife is a mining town. We had two operating gold mines within city limits. As the gold mines were shutting down, it was the exact time that the diamonds were discovered. It really was a type of divine intervention.

"Diamonds really did save the Northwest Territories and I believe saved the city of Yellowknife. We like to call ourselves the diamond capital of North America."

Ramsay says the Northwest Territories is the third largest producer of diamonds by value in the world. He also believes with the given trends in exploration and production, the Northwest Territories could be the number one producer in the world in 15 to 20 years.