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Prosperous 2017 for De Beers means N.W.T. diamond industry warming up: Chamber of Mines

A prosperous year for De Beers Canada could mean the diamond industry is warming up in the Northwest Territories, according to the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

De Beers Canada brought in close to $260 million in earnings in 2017

One of three open pits at the Gahcho Kue mine is shown in August 2016. De Beers Canada brought in millions of dollars in what it calls its biggest production ever, thanks mostly to the Gahcho Kue mine. (De Beers )

A prosperous year for De Beers Canada could mean the diamond industry is warming up in Northwest Territories, according to the executive director of NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

In the 2017 fiscal year, De Beers Canada brought in close to $260 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

"We had a tremendous production year. We had the biggest ever production output from Canada," said Kim Truter, CEO of De Beers Canada. 

"We're looking at another bumper year from Canada, something we're very excited about."

Truter said it's thanks in large part to the Gahcho Kue mine, located about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

It began its commercial production for diamonds last March.

Tom Hoefer, executive director of the chamber, says these numbers are a good sign for the territory.

Tom Hoefer is the executive director of the NWT Chamber of Mines. (CBC)

"What it means is they're finding people to buy the rough diamonds, and when demand for rough diamonds goes up, then generally the prices of those rough diamonds goes up," he explained.

"So if the world is saying that they're hungry for rough diamonds, then all of our diamond mines' prices should be going up as well, one hopes."

Hoefer says he's hopeful these numbers mean diamond sales will improve in the Northwest Territories.

De Beers Canada says they're expecting profits to continue to grow in 2018 thanks to Gahcho Kue mine.

The mine yielded close to 4-million carats of diamonds for the company, while De Beers' Victor Mine in Ontario contributed just over 730,000 carats.

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