The Growth of Diamond Mining in Canada and Implications for Mining Productivity
Diamond mining in Canada began in 1998, with the first production from the Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories. Since then the Diavik mine has begun production, and two other mines are slated to begin production within two years. Canada’s share of the world value of diamond production was 15 per cent in 2003, the third largest worldwide. These mines are all located in the northern regions of Canada, and hence contribute substantially to the growth of these regions. Diamond production accounted for 19.9 per cent of total real output in the Northwest Territories in 2002, representing a phenomenal impact, especially given that the industry did not exist five years before. Given the very high level of output per hour in the diamond mining industry ?reflecting a high degree of economic rent ?and the strong expected growth of the industry in the coming years, the labour productivity growth of the overall mining industry will be favourably affected. Based on a rough simulation of the growth of the Canadian diamond mining industry in the 2001-2006 period, average annual labour productivity growth in the overall mining industry will be between one and two percentage points higher than if the diamond mining industry did not exist. Although the mining of rough diamonds is lucrative in itself, there is also much value added in the manufacture and retailing of diamond jewelry. Investment by Canadian firms in each stage of the diamond pipeline could promise large returns due to the very high value added associated with the overall diamond industry.
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