A-mace-ing! Victor diamonds add sparkle to Legislature´s authority symbol

Posted on Thursday April 02, 2009
Two diamonds from Ontario Mining Association member De Beers Canada´s Victor Mine have brightened up the Mace in Ontario´s Legislature. One diamond, which has been cut and polished, and one rough gem stone from Ontario´s first diamond mine now adorn the Mace, which is the symbol of authority for politicians to meet and decide the laws of the province at Queen´s Park.

De Beers Canada donated a third diamond, which will be put on display in the Legislature showcasing the gems journey from "Mine to Mace." These three diamonds are the first certified in Ontario and they were selected from the first commercial production of the Victor Mine. The setting in the Mace was designed by Reena Ahluwalia. Three ounces of platinum, which were used in the setting, were donated by OMA member Vale Inco. All materials and services for refurbishing the Mace were donated by companies and individuals.

"The De Beers Canada Victor Mine is extremely proud of the superior quality diamonds we produce and equally proud to be able to share them with the people of Ontario in this historic way," said De Beers Canada President Jim Gowans at the Mace ceremony. "As Ontario´s first diamond mine, we will continue to set high goals for our team to ensure we maximize the benefits of this world class operation for our employees, our community partners and the people of Ontario."

"The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation have played a significant role in the development and operation of the De Beers Canada Victor Mine," said Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Hall at the ceremony. "We will continue to work in partnership with De Beers Canada to further develop employment, training and business opportunities that result from the mine."

Ontario mining companies, which have provided the materials for Ontario´s new Mace, share in the history of this important symbol. This is the third Mace used in the Legislature. The first, which dates back to 1792 and the assembly of Upper Canada, was captured by Americans during the War of 1812 and returned in 1934. The second Mace was lost in a fire in 1916 after being sent to Ottawa in 1867. The "new" Mace, now spruced up with Ontario diamonds and platinum, was originally created in 1867 -- the year of Confederation.

While the Mace has come to symbolize authority in legislative bodies, we need to remember that it is wielded by the Sergeant-at-Arms in the Legislature. It was originally a weapon first developed about 12,000 BC and it is believed to be the first weapon developed by man to kill his own kind. In England, King Richard I, in about 1189, created his personal royal body guards -- called Sergeants-at-Arms -- for protection against against unruly subjects. Their weapon of choice was the Mace.

The Victor Mine officially opened in July 2008 and represents an investment by De Beers Canada of more than $1 billion. We can´t say for sure whether, or not, diamonds and platinum in the Mace will better protect the Speaker of the House during legislative sessions. However, maybe they will help our legislators better remember the contributions of mining to Ontario´s society and economy, when they are working. Also, these donations of OMA members to this important piece of living history both recognizes the role of mining in the development of Ontario and the industry´s role in its future.