Attawapiskat and De Beers Agreement

In 2014, De Beers proposed an expansion plan that could have extended the life of the mine, but negotiations with the Attawapiskat First Nation, located right next to the Victor site, failed after the parties failed to agree on the terms of the expansion. The protections were included in the impact benefits agreement between De Beers and the First Nation, the company said. The De Beers Victor Diamond Mine is located on the traditional lands of the Attawapiskat First Nation. A Benefit Impact Agreement (IBA) was signed in 2005 with community leaders[15] with Danny Metatawabin, who acted as coordinator of the Benefit Impact Agreement (IBA) between De Beers and Attawapiskat. [16] Community members later protested the agreement through protests and roadblocks, claiming that the community`s share of the “mine premium does not go to the community.” [17] [18] De Beers negotiated a lease. While it is recognized that the mine is located on Attawapiskat Traditional Lands, royalties from the Victor Mine will go to the Government of Ontario, not to the Attawapiskat First Nation. [19] In 2015, De Beers paid up to $2 million per year to Attawapiskat. This payment will be split between a trust fund controlled by Chief and Council and the rest used for community development and to pay Attawapiskat members who manage the band`s impact agreement with De Beers, says Attawapiskat member Charlie Hookimaw. The trust fund now totals $13 million. In 2014, the community received approximately $1 million; $480,000 was spent on business relationships and $545,868 was spent on community development, Hookimaw says. [20] They have 500 full-time employees, including 100 from the Attawapiskat First Nation. De Beers also employs the Attawapiskat First Nation in the construction of winter roads. The “mine” employs 100 people from Attawapiskat at any given time.

It generates approximately $400 million in annual revenue for the company. Subcontractors from the Attawapiskat First Nation also work for the mine. [16] De Beers began searching for kimberlite pipes in Canada in the 1960s. “The Victor Mine was developed within a group of 16 kimberlite pipes discovered in 1987 in the James Bay Lowlands near Attawapiskat. [3] In 1995, the pipes in the James Bay Lowlands region were re-examined and interest in the Victor Mining Project was renewed. The feasibility of mining Victor diamonds was realized in 2002. [3] In 2005, the project received approval following an environmental assessment by the federal and state governments and shortly after construction began. In 2007, the Moose Cree First Nations[4] signed a contract for the Victor Mine and the first successful diamond production began. On June 20, 2008, the Victor mine entered production. De Beers celebrated its opening on July 26 and reached an agreement with the Ontario government to make up to 10 per cent of the mine`s production available to ontario`s cutting and polishing industry. In October 2009, the Victor mine was voted “Mine of the Year”[5] by the readers of the international trade magazine Mining Magazine. Support has been fragile in the First Nation since the signing of the initial agreement with DeBeers in 2005.

Band officials boycotted and hit the official opening of the mine in 2008 and the road to the mine was blocked several times, including in 2013.Mine area: Victor Kimberlite has an area of 15 hectares Recently elected Attawapiskat chief Ignace Gull said many community members feel neglected by the original agreement and want things to be different this. Time. But before it is further explored, Chief Executive Kim Truter wants the approval of the people of Attawapiskat, although he is only required by law to consult with them. The First Nation compares the location of this landfill to the Juukan Gorge fiasco in Western Australia, where Rio Tinto blew up a 46,000-year-old sacred site in Puutu Kunti Kuurama and Pinikura to gain access to high-grade ore. There is year-round access by air and only seasonal access by land, depending on whether the weather permits or not. On the property there are warehouses, a processing plant, workshops, offices, fuel storage, mine drainage machines and a runway (the Victor Mine Airfield) for travel needs. The site also has recreation rooms and dormitories for permanent staff. The life of the mine is expected to be twelve years and the total duration of the project is seventeen years, and each year the treatment plan is designed to process 2.5 million tons of kimberlite per year (about 7100 tons per day). [6] Much of the diamond mining waste that DBC would deposit in such a landfill is reusable and recoverable. More than half of the proposed landfill waste will be high-value power line infrastructure, as well as steel, piping and wood products that can be reused or recycled. “De Beers could and should transport this waste via the winter road it has maintained in recent years to markets and facilities south of us, where it can be processed and reused,” said David Nakogee, CEO of Attawapiskat.

“We are talking about 100,000 cubic meters of materials that could be reused or recycled. De Beers unilaterally terminated the contract for the winter road project because they said they didn`t need it. Of course, they don`t need it if they have the alternative of turning our country into their landfill instead of building a winter road. The Victor mine has not been in operation since March 2019. Final processing of the diamonds will be completed by June 2019. At that time, complete decommissioning, demolition and restoration will begin and continue over the next two or three years. Concerns were raised about the impact of the mine on the surrounding area. As it is an open-pit mine, it would disturb the natural environment. The impact zone is 5,000 hectares of land. [Citation needed] The first concern was expressed in 2005,[11] when environmental groups asked the Ontario government to conduct its own environmental impact assessment in conjunction with the federal audit, as it was felt that the federal audit had not fully assessed the situation, including long-term damage to wildlife, to the wilderness and water systems that were there.

However, the project has received ISO 14001 certification. [12] [13] Tom Ormsby stated that “the high quality of Victor diamonds and the width of the Canadian shield indicate great potential for another diamond mine in northeastern Ontario.” The “Canadian Shield has great potential to host diamonds” and the potential in Canada “appears to be at least twice as good as what southern Africa has in store for diamond potential.” [3] Disputes over the value of the nearby Attawapiskat diamond mine offer a lesson to other First Nations considering mining agreements, according to the Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Ontario. According to First Nations Trust Fund documents, Attawapiskat receives approximately $2 million per year from De Beers as a royalty. “A 200,000 cubic metre demolition landfill could accommodate approximately four CN towers. A 100,000 cubic metre landfill could supply a medium-sized Ontario community for 20 years or more. A landfill of this size requires a comprehensive environmental impact assessment,” says Don Richardson, environmental consultant at attawapiskat. “But if Ontario agrees that De Beers can divide the demolition landfill into two parts of about 100,000 cubic metres each, De Beers can circumvent the time and cost of planning a large landfill project through a comprehensive environmental assessment. If Ontario lets De Beers do that, I expect many Ontario communities to wonder if they can follow the same approach to sharing landfills, and things will become very interesting for people living near future landfill projects in southern Ontario. “We don`t want another disaster in the Juukan Gorge on our traditional territory,” Attawapiskat First Nation council member Jack Linklater said in a statement. Priestly Demolition recently released a video of the demolition at Victor`s site. The Victor mine was full of conflicts. Now, even after the mine closes, the dispute continues: the company is asking the Ontario government for permission to build a third landfill where it wants to dispose of “waste” it no longer needs to make a profit.

The Attawapiskat First Nation has every reason to strongly reject the proposal. — Bullet Editors The way DBC obtains Ontario`s permit for the additional landfill site is suspicious. Without conducting a full audit or considering alternatives to landfill, DBC requested 97,000 cubic metres of landfill volume, which is just below the 100,000 cubic metre threshold that would trigger a full environmental assessment. DBC recently received approval for a demolition landfill of the same size, and is now seeking Ontario approval for a second demolition landfill, bringing the total volume of demolition waste from the diamond mine project to nearly 200,000 cubic metres. .