Quebec produces its first polished diamond

The first polished diamond produced in the Canadian province of Quebec was unveiled on Tuesday by Canadian mining group Twin Mining Corp., Toronto, Reuters reported.

Presenting the diamond at a Quebec City museum, Twin Mining chief executive Hermann Derbuch and Papillon Gemme president Guy Couture said the diamond, cut in the shape of a tiny butterfly, came from its Torngat site, on the east coast of Ungava Bay in the far north of the province.

The diamond was mined from a kimberlite pipe-an underground rock formation that produces diamonds. Alluvial diamonds are found in river beds.

“We are talking about micro-diamonds here, with a range from 0.1 to 1 carat. They are big enough to be cut,” Couture told Reuters. He said the polished diamond average quality was “SI1” and its clarity was “E” which is considered exceptionally clear and white.

Currently, exploration for diamonds is happening in mostly central and western Canada.

Australia’s BHP Billton own Canada’s only producing diamond mine, Ekati, located in the barrenlands of the Northwest Territories in the sub-Arctic region, which produces up to 4.5 million carats annually.

Two other diamond mines are being built nearby, including one owned by South African diamond giant De Beers and the other a joint venture between London’s Rio Tinto and Canada’s Aber Diamond Corp., Toronto.

Once all three mines are in production-by 2004-Canada will rank among the world’s top five diamond producers by value after Botswana, South Africa, Australia, and Russia.

Couture said the Torngat mine was expected to be in production within the next two or three years.