De Beers says an unspecified number of jobs will be moved south from the Northwest Territories to the mining giant’s new headquarters in Calgary.

Employees were notified last week. Some positions in Yellowknife and at the Snap Lake diamond mine will move.

De Beers is also moving positions from a number of other Canadian locations as it prepares to open its Calgary headquarters next year. The company is looking to cut costs after admitting demand for diamonds has slowed.

Meanwhile, the territorial government has announced a new incentive designed to boost mineral exploration.

Late last week, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment said it would offer extra credit to recorded mineral claim holders for exploration work carried out over the two years between April 2015 and March 2017.

In a statement, industry minister David Ramsay admitted: “The low level of grassroots exploration expenditures is a concern in the NWT.

“With this move we are saying that we recognize this challenge – and will take the steps to encourage and assist junior exploration companies in our region through this exploration slump.”

The department says credit for exploration work between the given dates “will be increased by 50 percent in the recording system”.

The department’s statement added: “This will provide a temporary incentive to assist the mineral exploration industry to maintain their mineral tenure through financially challenging times. Implementing this program will be cost neutral.”

Last week, the NWT’s Mine Training Society told Moose FM that stimulating exploration remains the biggest challenge.

“Our problem in the industry is we’re not getting enough exploration going on,” said the society’s general manager, Hilary Jones, when asked about the outlook for employment in Northern mining.

“We need more exploration in order to create new mines.”