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The entry point for Diavik diamond mine in the North West Territories March 25, 2010.JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

As Ontario touts the potential for its massive northern Ring of Fire mining development, the Northwest Territories' Industry Tourism and Investment Minister is quick to point out his region's well-established "Ring of Ice."

The ice David Ramsey talks about is diamonds, and he says the industry is set for its next stage of expansion. Since its first mine was discovered two decades ago, NWT production has grown to supply 15 per cent of the world's diamonds.

The fourth diamond mine for the North is Gahcho Kué, located about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. It is being developed by De Beers Canada Inc. and Mountain Province Diamonds Inc., at a cost of up to $650-million.

A fifth project, Kennady North, adjacent to Gahcho Kué, is being proposed by Kennady Diamonds Inc.

"With some renewed focus on geoscience in that area, some experts believe we could look at four to five significant discoveries of diamonds in the area," Mr. Ramsay in a phone interview between meetings at the gathering of provincial premiers in Sudbury, Ont.

There is the potential for extensions of the Ekati and Diavik mines as well as for a recently assessed region of the territory's south that could contain diamonds, he said.

In recent years the Ontario mining industry has discovered vast deposits of chromite and other minerals in a 5,000 square kilometre region near Hudson's Bay known as the Ring of Fire.

Editor's Note: Resource ministers were gathering in Sudbury, Ont., not Charlottetown as previously reported.