Saskatchewan is thought to have the largest potential for diamond mining of any place in the world. The first discovery of kimberlite (a potentially diamond-bearing rock) in Saskatchewan was made in 1988, in the Sturgeon Lake area, about 30 km northwest of Prince Albert. Kimberlites were discovered in the Fort à la Corne area in 1989. With greater than 70 magnetically defined kimberlite bodies identified, the Fort à la Corne kimberlite ranks as one of the largest in the world.
Diamonds are recovered from diamond bearing kimberlites. The host rocks are crushed, then the diamonds are separated from the lighter minerals by gravimetric methods such as rotating pans. This produces a heavy mineral concentrate. One of two things is done with the concentrate.
Since the process of separating diamond from ore is largely mechanical and does not use toxic chemicals, concerns about environmental impacts of diamond mining are mainly restricted to the disruption of the land surface at the mine sites and the creation of infrastructure such as roads.