The government of the Northwest Territories signed a deal Monday to give exclusive rights to the polar bear diamond trademark to an Edmonton-based company.
Deepak International has also gained Approved NWT Diamond Manufacturer status, allowing it to buy a portion of the 10 per cent of N.W.T. rough diamond production offered by the territory’s mines to local cutting and polishing operations.
The company is finalizing the purchase of two GNWT-owned buildings in Yellowknife and the lease of related airport lands as the site for its new diamond manufacturing operations.
The company's president, Deepak Kumar, said the deal will revive Yellowknife's diamond industry.
"It's going to put Yellowknife back on the global map in the diamond industry," he said. "Yellowknife will regain its crown as the diamond capital of Canada."
The company promises to hire locally, and train diamond polishers. Once cut and polished, the diamonds will be laser engraved with a microscopic-sized polar bear logo.
The company said polar bear diamonds are in demand because of their "conflict-free" status.
David Ramsay, N.W.T. minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, said the move signals the rebirth of the Northwest Territories diamond industry.
Two Yellowknife diamond cutting and polishing companies which were located near the airport shut down operations in 2009, blaming a global recession for a slump in diamond sales. Last year, the territorial government put those properties on the market.