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Get Your Canadian Diamonds Here Today

Get Your Canadian Diamonds Here Today

Railpage Albion Camera #3 Rail Movement Detection
Source: Flickr

The last Northern gold rush occurred in the late-19th century in the Yukon when tens of thousands of prospectors made their way to Dawson City to find their fortunes. Since then, miners and oil workers have continued to seek wealth in the North. In the past decade, history has repeated itself with the discovery of diamonds in Canada’s North.

Diamond exploration in Canada began in the 1960s, but major discoveries of diamond-bearing kimberlite ore did not occur until the 1990s. With the discovery of diamonds in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in 1991, Canada has risen to become one of the top three diamond producers in the world in terms of value, behind Botswana and Russia. Currently, Canada produces 15% of the world’s diamonds. According to Statistics Canada, 13.8 million carats of diamonds worth approximately $2.8 billion have been mined in Canada between 1998 and 2002. To put it in perspective, each day Canada produces one 1.5 kilogram bag of diamonds worth $1.5 million. It is hoped that the diamond mines will provide income for decades to come.

In 1991, the first diamonds were found at Point Lake near Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories, some 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. Soon after the initial find, two diamond mines were opened in this region, the Ekati and Diavik mines. Diavik is approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Ekati. A third diamond mine, Jericho-3, began production in 2005, in Nunavut. A fourth diamond mine, Snap Lake-4 in the Northwest Territories, should begin production in 2007.

The Jericho-3 mine is located near the north end of Contwoyto Lake in West Kitikmeot, Nunavut Territory (NT). It is operated by the Tahera Diamond Corporation, which has been exploring for diamonds in Nunavut for the past seven years. Operations will commence with an open pit mine, and despite the harsh climate, it is planned to operate year-round. It is currently projected that the mine and processing plant will have an 8-year life and employ a total of approximately 125 to 175 employees and contractors.

The majority of shares in the Ekati mine (80%) are owned by the Australian mining conglomerate BHP Billton. The remaining 20% are owned by prospectors Charles Fipke and Stewart Blusson. The Ekati Diamond Mine is the only diamond mine owned by BHP Billiton and produces nearly four per cent of current world diamond production by weight and six per cent by value. The mine is expected to be viable for 20 years.

The Diavik mine, located about 300 km (180 miles) north of Yellowknife, is owned by Britain’s Rio Tinto PLC (60 per cent) and Toronto-based Aber Diamond Corp. (40 per cent). It employs 700 workers and produces 8,000,000 carats annually for total sales of $100,000,000 Cdn. The area was first surveyed in 1992, construction began in 2001, and diamond production started in 2003. It provides approximately 5% of world diamond production. The mine is also expected to remain in operation for 20 years.

The Snap Lake mine, owned by DeBeers and operated by DeBeers and AMEC consultants, is starting this year and is expected to remain in production for 20 more years. This mine is located under a lake and will be the first entirely underground diamond mine in Canada. DeBeers also owns the Victor mine, an open-pit diamond mine in a remote area in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, approximately 90 km west of the coastal community of Attawapiskat.

Canada’s diamond industry has a world reputation for both quality and integrity. In recent years, there have been ethical problems with African diamonds, which can originate in unstable countries such as Sierra Leone and Angola where diamond sales fund terrorism, war and weapons sales. Canadian diamonds are traceable, as each one is etched on the girdle with a serial number as well as a microscopic Canadian logo such as a maple leaf or a polar bear as a trademark. The pictorial logos vary with the companies selling the diamonds.

Canadian diamonds, especially those from the Ekati mine, are high quality and extremely white. They’re also fashionable, which was demonstrated when the Canadian teen singer Avril Lavigne attended the 2003 MTV Awards in New York wearing Canadian diamonds worth $50,000.

The mines provide high-income jobs with an average salary of $63,000, many of them permanent, not just the temporary make-work projects for which the Aboriginal communities of the Canadian north are well known. Almost 40% of the jobs are done by aboriginals. For instance, one diamond-cutting operation in the Northwest Territories is majority-owned by the Yellowknife Dene First Nation.

Some of the more specialized jobs, such as diamond cutting, are done by professionals from Armenia, Israel, China and Vietnam who earn salaries of more than $100,000. Many of the diamonds are cut and polished in facilities in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Matane, Quebec. Between 1998 and 2001, employment in the diamond mining industry in the North increased from 90 to 700 workers, with estimates of more than 2,000 jobs currently. Another 2,000 jobs are created in support industries for the mines and their workers. Diamond mining produces more than just diamond sales. It also funds many other activities such as construction, road-building, Arctic and sub-Arctic surveying and engineering projects.

Diamond fever in Canada’s north shows no signs of abating, and an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail in February 2004 reported that prospecting companies have laid claim to more than 70 million acres in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The newspaper said the most dramatic increase in diamond prospecting is in Nunavut, where the number of prospecting permits grew to 1,518 in 2004 from just 190 in 2003.

Starting on Dec. 1, 2003, companies were given one month to apply for prospecting permits, resulting in long, round-the-clock lines at offices in Yellowknife and Iqaluit. There is a charge of 10 cents an acre to register a claim, $1.50 to $2 an acre to stake a claim. With 70 million acres involved, the cost of these claims is expected to generate up to $140,000,000 in government revenue even before the mines open. Prospectors desperate to finish filing their claims have even been known to drop claim stakes from helicopters in poorly-accessible areas.

An economic boom is occurring in the north as tradesmen move into the area to fill jobs in the mines. This has raised the cost of living in the north, which was high to begin with due to the cost of transporting food and other necessities to isolated northern communities. In such places as Yellowknife, a basement apartment can rent for as high as $1,500 a month.

In 1998, Yellowknife Mayor Dave Lowell said that the diamond rush might have saved his town from economic decline. “Quite simply, it is our future,” Lowell said. “We’d be going into quite a recession if it wasn’t for the diamond mine.”

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Recipe: Chile Cheese Rice Bake

Chile Cheese Rice Bake

China Railgun
Source: Flickr

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup long grain white rice
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
12 ounces Jack cheese, grated
1 large tomato, chopped
Salt to taste
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon oregano
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Chopped parsley

PREPARATION:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook rice and set aside. Steam zucchini until tender, then drain.
3. Butter 3-quart casserole. Layer rice, chiles, 1/2 of cheese, zucchini and tomato. Sprinkle with salt. Combine sour cream, oregano, garlic and green onions and spoon over tomato layer. Scatter remaining cheese on top.
4. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

SERVES: 8

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Chinese Leader Visits U. S. Shops For Sneakers

Chinese Leader Visits U. S. Shops For Sneakers

Chinese New Year Celebrations, Carlisle, Cumbria
Source: Flickr


Hu Jintao, the leader of China, began his four-day trip to the United States by doing something that made him feel right at home.
Landing in Seattle, he was driven immediately to a Footlocker, where he purchased a pair of Nike sneakers. He proudly held them up to the camera, displaying the label on the inside of the tongue that heralded, “Made in China.”

“This is what fair trade is all about,” he said. “You give us things to make, and we make them.”

His next stop was at the tastefully restrained $100-million home of Bill Gates, where he gave an affable dinner talk. There was no discussion of whether he would allow equal time for a visit to Steve Jobs.

His trip includes the inevitable meeting with President Bush, where they’ll discuss all of the topics they’re bound to agree to disagree about, such as the touchy subject of human rights and whether or not Taiwan can somehow be re-stitched to mainland China, how to divvy up the world supply of oil so both economies can keep chugging along on the black gold of the Middle East, if China might join us in restraining the nuclear ambitions of scandalously belligerent Iran, and if China might value its currency appropriately before our trade deficit with them turns our own pockets completely inside out.

While we may quibble with the lack of progress the two are likely to make, just seeing the gentleman here, smiling and dressed in an accommodating suit and tie gives us some cause for hope that amity and progress between the two nations will increase, especially those of us who remember Mao and his monstrously debilitating ways, toward the finest potential of his own people and toward our own now much maligned but persistently well-intentioned nation.

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Culinary Traditions Of The Caribbean Islands

Willow
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Authentic Caribbean cuisine is truly an excellent representation of all the cultural influences the Caribbean Islands have experienced since Christopher Columbus’ landing in the late 1400’s.
With a fine mixture of French Island and African recipes, Caribbean cuisine is widely prepared and enjoyed by people of all nationalities, in many areas of the United States and the world.

Caribbean food and culture was forever changed when the European traders brought African slaves into the region. The slaves ate mostly the scrap leftovers of the slave owners, so not unlike the slaves in the United States they had to make do with what they had. This was the birth of the more contemporary Caribbean Cuisine. The African slaves blended the knowledge of spices and vegetables they had brought from their homeland and incorporated them with the precious fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean Islands, as well as other staples to be found in the area. This created many one-of-a-kind dishes, because many of the produce on the islands at the time was too fragile to make it through the exportation process. Fruits most often found in Caribbean cuisine include yams, yucca, mangos and papaya fruits. Among the produce that is too fragile to be exported is the tamarind fruit and plantains (a fruit grown on a tree that is similar to the banana).

Caribbean food, while spicy, is one of the healthier options among culinary traditions from different regions. As discussed, the lush Caribbean islands are chock full of vegetables and fruits for healthy living. In addition to that, America introduced beans, corn, chile peppers, potatoes and tomatoes to the islands, broadening their palate.

When slavery was abolished on the islands, slave owners had to look else where for help. Bringing in labor from India and China, different types of dishes using rice or curry were introduced and blended into mainstream Caribbean cuisine. This is how the Caribbean favorite curry goat was born.

The Caribbean islands are in a prime location for one of their specialties–seafood. Salted codfish is a specialty on the Caribbean islands. It is usually served in a salad or stew, or at breakfast in scrambled eggs. Lobster, sea turtle, shrimp, crab, and sea urchins are also specialties on the islands. They are used to make such exotic, spicy Caribbean dishes as Antillean crab pilaf and curried coconut shrimp.

Desserts are an integral part of the Caribbean culinary experience. Sugar cane is one of the area’s chief products, so there are always an abundance of cakes, pies, and dumplings. Caribbean natives incorporate dessert into almost every meal. At Caribbean restaurants you may notice the emphasis they put on their desserts; in their culture, dessert is just as important as the main course.

Caribbean cuisine incorporates flavors from all of the different cultures that have ever graced the shores of the islands, from Africa to China to India. The flavoring in Caribbean cuisine is intense and rich, strikingly similar African and Creole food.

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Bahamas Yacht Charters – Imagining Taking Your Own Boat To The Bahamas

Bahamas Yacht Charters – Imagining Taking Your Own Boat To The Bahamas

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When you decide on Bahamas Yacht Charters you have over 500 miles of tropical waters to explore.
The Bahamas is an archipelago that contains over 700 islands, so unless you have loads of cash you won’t get to see them all in one charter vacation. Choose from crewed yacht charters or a bareboat charter, but whichever one you choose, you can decide where you want to go. Bahamas Yacht Charters can help you plan your vacation so that it fulfills your every need.

The difference in crewed yacht charters and bareboat charters is in the amenities that the yacht offers. You don’t have to know how to sail the yacht if you want the cheaper bareboat, but you do have to supply your own food and supplies. In addition, you have to bring along your own lounge chairs and watersports equipment or choose to rent them from Bahamas Yacht Charters. With crewed yacht charters, you don’t have to do any work aboard the yacht and everything is supplied for you. If you have lots of money to spend, you can choose one of the luxury yacht charters. Bahamas lends itself to dreaming of luxury, so for that once in a lifetime vacation, why not splurge?

As a rule, Bahamas Yacht Charters begin with a chart briefing at 9 A.M. Then you can sail at 10 and you have to have the yacht back by 10 at the end of the charter period. If you would prefer to have an afternoon sailing time, you have to request this when you book your yacht charters. The Bahamas is suitable for any time sailing and with the short distance from Florida to the Bahamas, it doesn’t make any difference what time you leave. You do have to be careful of the weather if you book the yacht charter during hurricane season.

You can also begin and end the charter in the Bahamas. Fly into Abaco and take the yacht from there. For yacht charters, Bahamas tax rates are 4% of the total cost of the charter and you have to pay a daily insurance rate for the yacht. This depends on the size of yacht you charter. For example, the premium for yachts 41 feet and under is $33 per day and for those over 41 feet, the premium is $38 per day. The deductible with the yacht charter insurance is $400, which you must pay yourself if you cause any damage. Bahamas Yacht Charters supplies you with a full tank of fuel when you have a bareboat charter, but you must return the yacht with the tank full.

Sailing yachts from Bahamas Yacht Charters are much more expensive. A typical yacht charter will cost about $13,000, which does not include meals, docking, drinks and fees. During the summer, the yacht charters are based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and during the winter they are based in the Bahamas. If a group of people decide to get together and book a charter from Bahamas Yacht Charters, they can split the cost between them, which will significantly reduce the price per couple.