Gahcho Kue diamond mine official opening set for Sept. 20

De Beers Canada is extolling the benefits of its Gahcho Kue diamond mine ahead of the mine’s official opening later this month, billing it as 'the biggest and richest new diamond mine in the world.'

Project has generated hundreds of millions in benefits so far, but best still to come, says De Beers

One of three open pits at the Gahcho Kue diamond mine located 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. (De Beers )

De Beers Canada is extolling the benefits of its Gahcho Kue diamond mine ahead of the mine's official opening later this month, billing it as "the biggest and richest new diamond mine in the world."

"It's a big deal," said chief executive Kim Truter.

"It's a big deal for the N.W.T., for Canada, for De Beers and for Anglo American."

Anglo American owns 85 per cent of De Beers, according to its website.

According to De Beers, between 2006 and 2015, development of the Gahcho Kue mine pumped $440 million into the Northwest Territories economy, with another $350 million spent in the rest of Canada.

So far, the territorial and federal governments have collected $20 million in revenue as a result of the mine, most of it from income tax paid by mine workers. Another $4 million has been paid to the six aboriginal groups that signed Impact Benefits Agreements for the mine.

Predicts $6.7B boost to Canadian economy

The official opening of Gahcho Kue is scheduled to take place at the mine, located 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, on Sept. 20. But Truter says the mine came in under budget and ahead of schedule and moved into production last month.

A former president of Diavik Diamond Mines, Truter says his experience in the Northwest Territories was "absolutely invaluable" to his job of heading up Gahcho Kue.

"Unless you've lived locally and understand how things work locally, you really can't do this job properly... I spent five years living and working in the Northwest Territories, so I get the story."

De Beers predicts that during its 12-year life, the mine will provide a $6.7 billion boost to the Canadian economy.

De Beers owns 51 per cent of Gahcho Kue. The remainder is owned by Mountain Province Diamonds.

Both Mountain Province and Anglo American are enjoying sunny days. Gahcho Kue's final run-up to production has taken place as slumping diamond prices have rebounded. Anglo American has seen its share price jump 280 per cent since December. Shares in Mountain Province Diamonds have climbed 90 per cent.

De Beers says that 90 per cent of the mine's benefits to the N.W.T. and Canada are yet to come. So are the profits.

According to figures published by the companies, they anticipate that Gahcho Kue will produce more than $10 billion worth of diamonds.

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