N.W.T. looks to revive diamond polishing plants

The Northwest Territories has put out a call to see if anyone would like to revive two of the territory's abandoned diamond polishing factories.

Government trying to put a shine on territory's struggling secondary industry

The Northwest Territories government is trying to put a new shine on its diamond polishing industry.

The secondary industry has struggled over the last decade, with several manufacturers closing their doors because of financial troubles and high operating costs in the North.

The diamond industry accounts for 25 per cent of the N.W.T.'s gross domestic product, but there is only one polishing plant in the territory.

Pietro de Bastiani, with the Government of the Northwest Territories, says the tide has turned for the territory's struggling diamond polishing industry. ((CBC))

The territorial government has now put out a call to see if anyone is interested in reviving two abandoned factories.

"We are always very welcoming to investment here in the Northwest Territories, provided we believe that it provides, you know, a sound return for the people of the North," said Pietro de Bastiani from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

"We believe by going out, which we haven't really done before in the past, just to go out to the global market and really advertise clearly this opportunity," he added.

"We believe the tide has turned in this industry that the focus on the Northwest Territories is going to return."

The government says up to 150 jobs could be created if the factories reopen.

However, the government won't put out loan guarantees to reel in business like it did two years ago.

Jeweler Jason Yamkowy says he'd like to see the industry work, but he's skeptical it can be revived in Yellowknife. ((CBC))

Yellowknife jeweler Jason Yamkowy remembers when the city's so-called 'diamond row' was alive and well, but he said he's skeptical about this revival.

"I think the main issue is the cost," said Yamkowy.

"I mean, we have a whole street called 'diamond row' of empty factories of companies trying to give it a go. I'd like to see it work. Realistically, I'm not sure if it can."

The government would not give specifics but says it has received significant international interest so far.