Moose Cree First Nation and De Beers Canada Sign Victor Mine Impact Benefit Agreement

by NationTalk on September 19, 20071710 Views

MOOSE FACTORY, ON, Sept. 18 – The Moose Cree First Nation and De Beers Canada Inc. are pleased to announce that an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) was signed today for the De Beers Canada Victor Mine in northern Ontario.

Yesterday’s official ceremony celebrated the successful community ratification held in June 2007, in which the Moose Cree First Nation Band Members voted (85 %) in favour of accepting the IBA. The IBA establishes commitments made by De Beers and Moose Cree First Nation regarding education, training, business, compensation and other initiatives to maximize opportunities and minimize impacts arising from the construction and operation of the Victor Mine. The agreement also provides clarity on committee structures and procedures for both parties as the development of Ontario’s first diamond mine moves forward.

“De Beers is committed to working with the Aboriginal communities within which we operate around the world and this Agreement demonstrates the importance we place on such relationships,” said Jim Gowans, President & CEO of De Beers Canada. “The key to sustainable development for both parties will be to build upon this foundation to take full advantage of the economic opportunities being created by the construction and operation of the Victor Mine.”

Located in the James Bay Lowlands, the Victor Mine is under construction and is currently the largest project in northern Ontario. When operational in the first quarter of 2008, the Victor Mine will have 375 full-time employees. A number of training and business initiatives have been developed to provide local First Nation communities meaningful and long-term participation in the project.

“It’s important for the Moose Cree citizens to be entering into this IBA with De Beers because it shows respect for our Homeland,” said Chief Patricia Faries-Akiwenzie. “Our people have been here since time immemorial and will continue to live in and off this land. Now that De Beers is extracting our resources it is only fair that we have reached an agreement that provides benefits for our First Nation. This Agreement represents a major step forward in our relationship with outside resource users and breaks the trail for other companies who want to utilize our resources in the Moose Cree Homeland.”

“The development of the Victor Mine is providing positive, tangible benefits for northern Ontario and the First Nations communities on the James Bay Coast”, said Jeremy Wyeth, Vice President De Beers Canada Victor Mine. “De Beers is passionate about what we do and it is important for us to work with those close to the resource to turn diamond dreams into lasting realities for everyone involved.”

This is the third community agreement that De Beers Canada has concluded for the Victor Mine and the seventh signed by the company in Canada. The previous IBA for Victor was formally signed with Attawapiskat First Nation in November 2005 and a Working Relationship Agreement with Taykwa Tagamou Nation was signed in May 2005. De Beers Canada has concluded four additional Impact Benefit Agreements with local Aboriginal communities for the Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories.

The Victor Mine will be Ontario’s first diamond mine and is expected to produce six million carats during its twelve-year life span. It will be the second diamond mine in Canada for De Beers, following the opening of the Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories in the fall of 2007.

For further information: Linda Dorrington, Director, Public and Corporate Affairs, De Beers Canada Inc., Business Office: (416) 645-1710 ext. 412, Cell Phone: (416) 818-2254, Email: linda.dorrington@ca.debeersgroup.com; Heather Duhn, Communications Coordinator, De Beers Canada – Victor Project, Business Office: (705) 268-0988 ext. 299, Cell Phone: (705) 365-8365, Email: heather.duhn@ca.debeersgroup.com

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