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Ontario Opens Its First Diamond Mine

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Ontario Opens Its First Diamond Mine

DeBeers Investment Will Mean High-Skill Jobs, Prosperity For Northerners

Office of the Premier

Ontario families living in the north will benefit from hundreds of high-value jobs now that construction is underway on the province's first-ever diamond mine, said Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"The Victor Diamond project is great news for the people of Attawapiskat and the surrounding region," said Premier McGuinty. "DeBeers' investment here means more than just new jobs. It will provide more opportunity for families, local businesses and First Nations communities."

The Victor Diamond Mine will be built and operated by DeBeers Canada. The project will create 600 construction and 375 new, full-time jobs in Attawapiskat and nearby communities. It will also increase education, training and business opportunities for local First Nations communities. Over the long term, the project could generate up to 3,200 jobs across the province.

The mine is expected to begin production in 2008 and turn out about 6 million carats of diamonds. In total, DeBeers Canada will invest over $980 million in the project. It is estimated the mine could pump more than $6 billion into Ontario's economy.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Natural Resources David Ramsay, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Chris Bentley, DeBeers executives and the local community joined Premier McGuinty at today's groundbreaking ceremony.

"The Victor Project sends a clear message around the world that Ontario remains a prime jurisdiction for mineral exploration and development investment," said Bartolucci. "It also signals that cooperation among First Nations, government and industry can result in mutually beneficial outcomes for all concerned."

"Our government wants to create opportunities and benefits in the resource industry to ensure a sustainable future for Aboriginal peoples, especially those living in the north," said Ramsay. "We encourage the mineral industry and Aboriginal communities to work together to build new partnerships and improved relationships."

"The jobs created by the Victor Project offer greater prosperity to the people of the James Bay Lowlands area," said Bentley. "We look forward to greater cooperation between local colleges and the First Nations' communities to build on and develop the range of skills needed to support DeBeers' investment."

Since coming to office, the McGuinty government has worked to create a favourable investment climate in Ontario. Provincial tax rates for mining are among the lowest in Canada. The government has also invested $15 million, over three years, for geological mapping in the far north.

Supporting the mining industry in northern Ontario is just the latest example of how the McGuinty government is working on the side of northerners. Other initiatives include:

  • Investing $10 million for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation at Laurentian University
  • Investing a record $357 million to expand and upgrade the nearly 11,000-kilometre highway network in northern Ontario
  • Opening the first Northern Ontario School of Medicine to help alleviate the doctor shortage.

"An investment in northern communities today is an investment in Ontario's future prosperity," said Premier McGuinty. "By creating more opportunities for families across our province, we're making Ontario the place to be for years to come."

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Business and Economy Rural and North