N.W.T. minister hopes Ekati mine expansion makes up for jobs lost in head office move
'They have traded off 100 positions to continue move Jay pipe out,' says Wally Schumann of Dominion Diamond
The Northwest Territories government is trying to stay positive with the recent news that Dominion Diamond Corporation will move its head office from Yellowknife to Calgary.
Dominion Diamond owns and operates the Ekati mine, and owns 40 per cent of the Diavik mine. Both mines are located in N.W.T., about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.
The territorial government hopes the company's cost cutting measure will ensure the development of the Jay pipe expansion at the Ekati mine.
Dominion Diamond announced on Monday that the move will affect 100 Yellowknife positions and save the company about $19 million annually. The company has not yet revealed how many employees will be laid off.
Wally Schumann, N.W.T.'s minister of industry, tourism, and investment, is hopeful the millions in savings will help move the company's Jay pipe expansion project to reality, and end up creating more jobs than were lost at the Yellowknife head office.
"That's going to bring possibly an extra 400 and some people to construct Jay pipe," Schumann said.
"It will continue to extend the mine life out to 2031. So that's positive news moving forward.
"This is a decision they had to make, I believe, to continue that process moving forward. At the end of the day they have traded off 100 positions to continue move Jay pipe out to a longer mine life and employ more northerners."
Schumann said Dominion Diamond was not required to have its head office in Yellowknife. However, the company will continue to have a presence in the capital city.
Schumann also said Dominion Diamond has not met with him about the move, and did not meet with the territorial government before the announcement.
"This is a business decision made by the corporation," he said.
"It just shows you that the global economy has a big impact on all regions of Canada including the Northwest Territories.
"We want to move forward to diversify our economy. Be it fishing, or the traditional economy, agriculture, manufacturing."
In the Monday announcement, Dominion Diamond committed to continuing its ongoing operations at the Ekati mine, and the development of the Jay pipe project.