Fun fact: Ekati Diamond Mine located in Canada’s Northwest Territories is the third largest producer of rough diamonds by value in the world. How cool is that?!
It has been awhile since I wrote an article for the Fair Fashion segment of the blog, so I’m extra excited to share this story with you. A lot of what I cover on the blog with regards to ethical manufacturing practices focuses on the garment industry, but today we’re going to switch it up and talk about diamonds. After all, who doesn’t love diamonds?
When I wrote an article for a fine jewelry brand that focused on the welfare of their craftsmen, I received a lot of feedback asking where we can find diamonds that we know are ethically sourced. I finally have an answer for you!
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I discovered a company called CanadaMark that certifies ethical diamonds sourced from Canada’s Northwest Territories. How perfect is that? As far as I’m concerned, the icy arctic is the quintessential birthplace for a diamond. I didn’t know that we had diamond mines here in Canada, so I was excited to add this new item to the list of “Made in Canada” goods that we can be proud to support.
Upon reading more about the diamond industry, I learned that in addition to the humanitarian aspects of diamond mining, people voice concerns about the environmental implications too. So, I was pretty excited when the non-profit organization, Diamonds Do Good, reached out to partner on an article about the environmental initiatives of the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. To top it off, this mine just so happens to be the supplier of the certified Canadian diamonds mentioned above. It’s like they were reading my mind.
A little bit of background information, the Ekati Diamond Mine is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories just 200 km from the arctic circle. Beginning production in 1998, Ekati is now the third largest producer of rough diamonds in the world by value. Ekati Diamond Mine has produced sixty two million carats since 2015 alone. It turns out that Canada’s presence in the diamond mining industry is huge and I didn’t even know it!
Along with local sourcing, Dominion Diamond Corporation, the owner of Ekati Diamond Mine, holds environmental concerns at the forefront of their business practices. Out of the entire region of land leased by the company, only 2.1 percent of that area falls under the footprint of the mine. The remaining area is not only left to thrive in its natural state, but is closely monitored to assess for environmental impact.
In partnership with local aboriginal communities, Dominion implemented an animal tracking program. The caribou, grizzly bear, wolf, fox and nesting bird populations are now closely monitored to ensure their health and proper migration patterns remain intact. One of the most significant environmental concerns around mining in the region was the effect it would have on grizzly populations, but DNA tagging shows that the population has successfully remained stable. The caribou migration patterns have also remained intact. All in all, the mine’s success at protecting sub-arctic wildlife, and their small industrial footprint point to environmentally conscious business practices that we can be proud to support.
In addition to bringing jobs and economic opportunity to the region, the Dominion Diamond Corporation also partners with the region’s aboriginal population through several social initiatives. By engaging the communities for their traditional knowledge of land and wildlife, Ekati Diamond Mine has learned to coexist alongside the Aboriginal population in the region. The elders of the local First Nations are present in the planning, construction and reclamation of mined land. Educational and training programs are offered for those who’d like to work in the industry. They have also created additional education programs to ensure that the traditional knowledge of the local aboriginal groups remains intact for future generations.
All in all, this Canadian-made diamond knowledge has me pretty excited! I love finding the stories behind how things are made. Plus, I get this wonderful tingly feeling when I think about wearing a diamond sourced from Canada’s beautiful arctic.
Look for the CanadaMark certification when shopping to know that your diamond is from the Ekati Diamond Mine.
This post was written with partnership with Diamonds Do Good, an online educational platform providing information about diamond mines globally sponsored by the Diamond Empowerment Fund. All opinions are my own through research I conducted personally.
Photography by Rossignol Creative.
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