International Kimberlite Conference coming to the NWT this summer

The city's two main hotels will host delegates; event comes as sun starts to set on North's active diamond mines

Drill core plays a very important role in diamond exploration, providing  information on the diamond grade of the kimberlites. As part of the 11th Conference, field trips participants had the opportunity to visit several diamond mines in Botswana and South Africa, where they could learn more about mining operations, and the geology of the kimberlite and diamonds. (Photo courtesy International Kimberlite Conference)

The Northwest Territories will host the 12th International Kimberlite Conference in Yellowknife, from July 8th to 12th. This is the conference postponed from 2020 due to the worldwide pandemic.

Rio Tinto’s Diavik mine is closing in two years, with Burgundy’s Ekati (shown) and De Beers’ Gahcho Kué possibly closing a few years after that. (Photo courtesy Burgundy/Facebook)

Organizers stated the location of the 12th Conference is particularly appropriate “as Canada has become the third largest producer of diamonds by value” after Botswana and Russia.

The Northwest Territories is where it started, and there are now three operating mines. For now, that is.

The conference comes at a time when the NWT’s economy is in coming years going to lose diamond mines that drive a huge chunk of its employment and revenue.

The conference will bring together geoscientists from both the academic and exploration/mining communities to share their knowledge, stimulate scientific debate and to further our understanding of the geology of kimberlites, diamonds and related subjects.

This is an example of kimberlite, which can hold diamonds. (Photo courtesy of International Kimberlite Conference)

To celebrate and showcase indigenous participation in the Canadian diamond industry, a workshop entitled, An Indigenous perspective on the 30 years of diamonds in Canada, will be held on Sunday afternoon July 7, the day before the start of the official event.

Also in the pre-conference schedule, which captures arriving delegates, art creators take note that the NWT Arts Program is coordinating a marketplace sale on the evening of Sunday, July 7, at Somba K’e Civic Plaza.

With a combination of informative speakers and a thoughtful panel discussion, this session will offer the opportunity to learn about how the local indigenous people of the north and the diamond industry have partnered in a mutually beneficial way over the past 30 years.

There will also be a selection of field trips, showcasing the Northwest Territories’ diamond mines.

The two adjacent conference hotels, the Explorer and the Chateau Nova, will host all of the technical sessions, maximizing the opportunity for delegates to network with the kimberlite and diamond community.

The conference will celebrate 50 Years of International Kimberlite Conferences, the first being in 1973 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Kimberlite, along with a similar rock called lamproite, delivers diamonds to the Earth’s crust through magmatic intrusions that solidify into pipe-like structures.

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: