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Diamonds: Still Shining Brightly for Canada’s North
By Craig Byrd, International Trade Division, Statistics Canada
Since 1999, diamonds have had a profound impact on the economy of Canada’s North, in particular, the Northwest Territories (NWT). The Northwest Territories have made Canada a major player in the global diamond market, moving us to third in the world in terms of value of production and sixth in terms of volume by 2004.
The value of Canadian diamond production trails that of long-time leader, Botswana, and is rapidly catching Russia. Diamond mining and related activities have been the driving force behind the economic turnaround for the entire Northwest Territories. The discovery of, and resulting boom in, diamond mining occurred when production in the NWT’s other mining area, gold, was being scaled back, thus further magnifying its impact.
The impact of the discovery of diamonds in the NWT extends far beyond the scope of increased exports. Diamonds have had a significant effect on many aspects of the economy of the NWT. Manufacturing shipments, employment, gross domestic product (GDP) and income per capita have all seen remarkable turnarounds since the onset of production in 1999.
This paper examines the overall impact of diamonds on the Northwest Territories since 1999 and provides data on production values from 2002 to 2005.