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Rough diamonds from various areas of Ekati diamond mine.

Dominion Diamond Corp. is moving its head office to Calgary from Yellowknife as part of a cost-cutting move.

The relocation is expected to result in savings of about $19-million annually, the company said on Monday.

The diamond producer, operator of the Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories, said the move will affect about 100 employees. It did not say if job cuts are planned.

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Operations at Ekati will continue uninterrupted, and development of the Jay deposit, about 25 kilometres from Ekati, will also be maintained, the company said.

The decision follows last summer's announcement of the sale of Dominion's eight-storey office building in downtown Toronto.

Dominion and other diamond producers have been struggling with slumping demand and low prices in the global diamond market.

Dominion also had to deal with the fallout from a fire last June at Ekati that forced the temporary layoff of more than 300 workers.

The company said on Monday it plans to maintain an office in Yellowknife "for certain key positions."

"Although this was not an easy decision, it is necessary to support the long-term strength and viability of our operations," Dominion chief executive officer Brendan Bell said.

"The Ekati mine is a pillar of the NWT economy, and this cost reduction effort will allow us to continue to provide northern employment opportunities and benefits well into the future."

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The relocation to Calgary is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

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