De Beers officially opened its new Canadian headquarters in Calgary on Wednesday after relocating from Toronto as it prepares to open what it calls the biggest diamond mine under construction in the world, writes the Winnepeg Free Press. Kim Truter, the CEO of De Beers Canada, said the company weighed where it was best to locate its office with two mines north of Yellowknife, one in Ontario and exploration activities across the country. "We looked at a lot of options because we had to look at our centre of gravity in relation to where our operations were," said Truter. "And then, taking into account things like logistics, cost of living, attraction and retention - so all of those criteria - and Calgary came out the winner," he said. The new office is right next to the Calgary International Airport, giving the company convenient connections to De Beers' head office in London as well as its remote mines in Canada, Truter said.
The move from Toronto to Calgary is part of restructuring effort to more efficiently support its Canadian diamond mines, and it was not unmotivated by the current diamond market. The market has not stopped De Beers from going ahead with the $1-billion Gahcho Kué mine together with Mountain Province Diamonds in the Northwest Territories that it expects to open later this year. The new mine will employ about 550 staff and contractors, with some of the more than 400 people who lost their jobs at Snap Lake moving to the new mine. Truter said the Snap Lake underground mine was a complicated operation that was troubled from the start, and doesn't expect similar issues at the open pit Gahcho Kue mine. He said the company is also working to add to the mine-life of its Victor mine in northern Ontario that is scheduled to close in 2018.