The delegation also met with mining company Stornoway, which drew indications that the company is considering to commercialize its entire production from the Renard mine in Quebec through Antwerp. The Renard mine is expected to yield 1.6 million carats of diamonds annually, with a value of 304 million USD, with production estimated to hit the market as of the second half of 2017. If the Renard production is marketed in Antwerp, the share of rough diamonds from Canada on the Antwerp market could increase by 64 percent. As trade center and diamond producer, Antwerp and Canada have always maintained a close relationship.
Speaking on the changes Canada has undergone in its diamond mining. Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, said, “A number of legislative changes have ensured that the regional and local authorities, such as the Northwest Territories, have obtained wider competencies as concerns the mining industry. This mission was important for Antwerp as a diamond center because of these new political arrangements. The new political leaders confirmed and reinforced the strong current relationship.” Antwerp Governor Cathy Berx added, “We clearly share the same values, such as transparency, the importance of correct controls and corporate social responsibility. We can conclude this was a very successful mission.”
Diamonds occupy a significant position in the trade balance between Canada and Belgium. 26.4% (in value) of all goods imported from Canada are diamonds.