Community engagement and investment

While our obligations to northern communities and people are spelled out in contractual agreements, Dominion Diamond strives to meet both the letter and the spirit of those commitments.

Engagement

We maintain regular dialogue with communities around our mining operations, recognizing that our presence can bring both opportunities and concerns for residents. It is important to share information on mine operations, new projects, business and employment opportunities, and wildlife and environmental initiatives. And it is essential to listen, discuss, and incorporate feedback into our plans and activities.

At the Ekati mine, we are guided by the Ekati Mine Engagement Plan, which outlines well-established activities that build on practices developed during the early days of the mine. We hold regular community and Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) meetings, workshops, and site visits, and we involve elders and IBA youth in Traditional Knowledge and environmental monitoring projects. Environmental reports are submitted to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB), all of which are posted to the WLWB’s public registry where any party can provide comment or questions.

The main topic of discussion in recent meetings related to the proposed Jay Project. We shared our plans and project status, conducted site visits, collaborated on studies, and answered questions. A prime example was the Tłı̨chǫ What’aa Project, in which Tłı̨chǫ elders studied varying properties of natural eskers close to Mesa Lake to identify community-based concepts that may be useful in the planning, construction and reclamation of mine waste rock piles.

As part of our commitment to keeping communities informed, both the Ekati mine and the Diavik mine publish annual reports related to their socio-economic performance. The reports are posted to our website and can be downloaded here:

Diavik Diamond Mine 2014 Sustainable Development Report
Dominion Diamond 2014 Socio-Economic Agreement Report

Investment

The Ekati mine has commitments under a Socio-Economic Agreement (SEA) with the Government of the Northwest Territories that has been in place since 1996, prior to our acquisition of the mine. These commitments relate to employment, community development, and business opportunities for northerners and northern Aboriginal residents. Our 2014 highlights are presented below. The Dominion Diamond 2014 Socio-Economic Agreement Report provides performance details.

Employment:

  • Dominion Diamond employed 549 northern residents, of which 62% were northern Aboriginal, exceeding our SEA target of 50%.

Business opportunities:

  • We strive to maintain positive working relationships with northern contractors to build capacity for northern businesses, and to have a positive impact on the northern economy.
  • Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures have secured numerous contracts at the Ekati mine, including contracts for mining services, explosives and blasting supply, catering, transportation services, janitorial services, as well as freight, cargo, and mail transportation services.
  • In 2014, Dominion Diamond spent over $276 million in the North, with 28% ($78.6 million) going directly to Aboriginal businesses.
  • The majority of the Ekati mine’s 2014 northern expenditure went into three categories:
    • Earth moving equipment (through Finning, Sandvik, and Atlas Copco)
    • Freight, cargo, and mail transport (through BBE, Tli Cho Logistics/Ventures West, Tli Cho Landtran, First Air, and Northcan Freighters)
    • Underground mining, surface drilling, and blasting services (through Kete Whii/Procon, Polar Explosives, McCaw North Drilling & Blasting, and Major Drilling)

Ekati Mine 2014 Expenditure by Priority Group

Pie Chart

Community development

  • Through the Ekati Plus Community Development Program, we provide financial and in-kind support to northern initiatives that are innovative and have a long-lasting impact on the people and communities of the North. Our efforts include funding Traditional Knowledge activities in order to promote and support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis heritage; investing in the future of the North by supporting youth education and literacy initiatives; and funding emergency youth shelters. See page 27 of the Dominion Diamond 2014 Socio-Economic Agreement Report for a list of the groups supported.
  • In 2014, Dominion Diamond contributed over $5 million to Northern communities through IBA payments, IBA scholarships, and donations in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
  • Diavik Diamond Mine also contributes approximately $5 million annually to local communities through Participation Agreements with Aboriginal communities, community projects, donations, and scholarship funding, of which Dominion Diamond contributes 40%, or $2 million. See page 25 of the Diavik Diamond Mine 2014 Sustainable Development Report for details.
  • In India, we have a smaller presence than in Canada. Nevertheless, our employees volunteer in the community, and we make donations to community projects, usually by contributing to customers’ initiatives. We recently created a CSR Committee to study the best way for Dominion Diamond to provide support. Through this process, we identified clean drinking water as a community priority that we would like to support on our own, and we are developing a program to meet that goal.