The Yellowknives Dene are the most recent to sign off on the Gahcho Kue diamond mine project following the completion of their impact benefit agreement (IBA) with De Beers last week.
The agreement establishes a framework for De Beers and the First Nation to cooperate over the life of the mine, including economic opportunities.
“This agreement provides certainty that training, employment and business opportunities are made available to Yellowknives Dene members and it includes financial provisions necessary for ensuring fair participation in opportunities the project will provide,” said YKDFN Chief Edward Sangris.
YKDFN already has an established relationship with De Beers for the company’s Snap Lake diamond mine. Glen Koropchuk, chief operating officer for De Beers, said the new IBA builds on that existing relationship.
“It confirms our commitment to work together for the benefit of Yellowknives Dene First Nation members as we advance the Gahcho Kué mine,” he said.
The First Nation is the third to sign an IBA for the mine. The North Slave Metis Alliance did the honours last July, with the Tlicho following up just last month.
As of last fall, the Yellowknives, Tlicho, Lutsel K’e Dene and Deninu Kue First Nations were opposed to the project on the grounds that it did not adequately address concerns regarding wildlife and environmental monitoring, as well as cultural preservation.
Lutsel K’e and Deninu Kue are now the only two remaining Aboriginal governments who have yet to cut a deal with De Beers.
Gahcho Kue, located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife, will employ nearly 700 people during the two-year construction phase and close to 400 people during its 11 years of operations.
During its mine life, Gahcho Kue is expected to produce around 31 million tonnes of ore yielding an estimated 49 million carats.
Gahcho Kue is a joint venture between De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds.