For more than a century, De Beers has sold diamonds from its mines by parceling them out at its 10-times-a-year sights. But in the latest surprising change, De Beers has announced that its new Canadian mine will sell stones outside that system. The arrangement is unusual for De Beers, but not for the other two mines at the location, both of which supply parts of their production to stimulate the local cutting industry.
At an Antwerp Diamond Conference last year, Canadian officials warned De Beers that supporting local industry would be key to getting its Snap Lake concession approved. The mine is due to begin operation in 2006.