For many decades, the thought of finding diamonds within Canadian borders was little more than a prospector’s pipe dream.   After a series of diamond-bearing deposit discoveries in Canada’s north in the 1990s, those dreams became a reality, setting the future course of the country’s diamond mining sector. Early on, Canadian diamond mining was concentrated in what turned out to be world-class deposits in the Northwest Territories that soon produced over a billion dollars in diamonds each year.  Canada quickly vaulted into the position of the world’s third largest diamond producer. While development still remains concentrated in the north (including thriving projects in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon), advanced exploration initiatives are now taking place in other regions of the country, with increasing activity in the west.

The history of diamond mining in western Canada is only in the process of being written.  There is much potential for, and speculation about, significant mining activity in the region.  The examples are numerous.  Experts suggest that the geology of Alberta is favourable for the discovery of economic diamond deposits, given adequate exploration expenditures, geological mapping and time.  Like, Alberta, there is much optimism regarding the sustainability of Saskatchewan diamond mines and a number of companies are currently undertaking exploration.  In particular, with one recent find and its accompanying feasibility studies, there is hope that it will lead to the establishment of the province’s first diamond mine near Prince Albert.  Further, the potential for diamond mining in Manitoba is also gaining traction.  With a number well-established mining companies testing formations in the province, the future for diamond operations in Manitoba is bright.

Like other sectors, diamond mining has its critics.  While the process of separating diamond from ore is largely mechanical and does not use toxic chemicals, there are those who have expressed concerns about the disruption of the land surface at the mine sites and the adverse environmental impacts that accompany the construction of required infrastructure, including roads.  Although industry challenges are always present, the untapped potential for diamond mining in western Canada cannot be overlooked.