Crossworks Manufacturing in Sudbury will cut diamonds from a De Beers Canada mine for the next three years, the provincival government announced Tuesday.

Crossworks' Sudbury operation now employs 29 people, but the number is expected to rise to 50 with the new contract, says an announcement from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

The ministry said Crossworks was offered the chance to buy about $35 million worth of rough stones for cutting and polishing. The allocation of rough diamonds comes from De Beers' Victor mine in northeastern Ontario.

Ron Gashinski, director of the diamond sector with the ministry, said 23 of the Crossworks workers in Sudbury are from Vietnam, but they will train the Ontario workers hired to fill the new jobs.

"The pool of talent is just not in Canada right now," Gashinski said. "Basically, it's a difficult quest to go out and get cutters and polishers, so the first thing a manufacturing company has to do if they're going to set up in Canada is train people overseas or bring their own cutters or polishers over."

Under an agreement with the province, De Beers Canada is making 10 per cent of its annual rough diamond production from the Victor mine, by value, available for cutting and polishing in Ontario, the ministry said.