by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 13/96) - The Northern philosophy of treating everyone with respect will change drastically with the advent of diamond mining in the NWT, said the head of security for De Beers.

After a century of diamond mining, the company has radically altered and updated security around its diamonds, said Sir Alan Grose, Friday in Yellowknife.

"In some ways we don't trust anybody," he said. "I can assure you, nobody is more ingenious than a diamond thief."

That statement met with some opposition from Bill Erasmus, Dene Nation chief, who said aboriginal people work on the principle that people are basically good.

"I'm just putting markers down you should think about," Grose said. "I only hope it can be dealt with."

The security executive for De Beers, the company controlling about 70 per cent of the world's diamond trade, was in town mainly to offer an insider's view of the diamond industry.

His principles of diamond security include: tight security in mining and sorting areas; a strong legislative framework; strict law enforcement; and heavy sentences for those convicted of diamond theft.

In Grose's experience, mainly in Africa, black market rings move into the area and can use the money from selling stolen diamonds to finance drugs or arms running.

"The problem we have to deal with is the extent people are being forced to collude with each other," he said.

An investigation at one mine showed 47 people, all working one shift, colluded with each other to steal diamonds, he added.

During the visit to Canada, Grose also met with government officials in Ottawa and Edmonton. Monopros Ltd., De Beers' Canadian arm, hosted the informal meeting Friday at the Explorer Hotel.

"Canada, which is just starting out in the diamond industry, has the ability to learn from the mistakes of other countries and learn from their pitfalls," Grose said.

New legislation is being considered for the industry in Canada and local RCMP have travelled abroad to view security in and around operating diamond mines.