December 6, 2018
The Government of the Northwest Territories has amended its Diamond Policy Framework to take a new approach to realizing economic benefits from diamond manufacturing.
The policy now provides the opportunity for manufacturers to export a portion of their NWT rough diamonds in exchange for alternative investments in the NWT economy. It is a move designed to make the NWT diamond manufacturing sector more viable.
We sat down with Tiffany Hall — the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment's Director of Diamonds, Royalties and Financial Analysis — to ask her five questions about the GNWT’s new approach.
What is the overall goal of this adjusted Diamond Policy Framework?
We want to support the growth of our NWT diamond manufacturing industry. We would like to see it generate training and employment opportunities - and create business and investment opportunities to grow and diversify our economy.
Hasn’t the GNWT tried and failed at this already?
The rough diamonds made available through agreements with Northen producers are a unique resource worth as much as $150 million/ a year to our economy. We’re not prepared to just let that economic potential disappear. This is a new approach that we think will allow us to realize the vision that we have for this sector.
How much is this going to cost?
There is no direct financial investment involved. Our investment is a policy change.
What makes you think this will work?
We’ve done our homework. We worked with an international diamond consultancy firm to help us identify policy options. We have discussed our proposed changes with diamond manufacturers in the NWT and elsewhere; and they have told us that they think it will work.
Aren’t you just brokering NWT diamonds to industry?
No we’re not. We will be providing access to NWT rough diamonds to manufacturers who apply and are approved to establish manufacturing operations in our territory - and whose business plans demonstrate a tangible investment in our economy.
The big change today is that we are going to define the economic benefits we need to see. It doesn’t just have to be jobs cutting and polishing. It can include jewellery manufacturing, retail outlets or related tourism initiatives.
If our diamonds are attracting people to the NWT, advancing skill development and creating investment opportunities in other sectors, they are driving the economy.
At the end of the day, we’re working to ensure that diamond mining benefits the NWT and its residents. That’s our goal.