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Diavik Diamonds Project Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement
|Date:||2 October 1999|
|Sub Category:||Socio-Economic Agreement (Canada)|
|Location:||Northwest Territories, Canada|
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|The Diavik Diamonds Project Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement relates to the Diavik diamond mine, which is situated around 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, on an island in Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Agreement itself relates to the Northwest territories more generally, but in particular concerns those communities that are located in the vicinity of the mine.|
|Subject Matter:||Collaboration / Partnership | Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | Employment and Training | Mining and Minerals | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests|
|The Diavik Diamonds Project Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement was agreed on 2 October 1999 between Diavik Diamond Mines Inc, the Northwest Territories government and the five First Nations and Aboriginal groups who were most affected by Diavik's diamond mine at the East Island in Lac de Gras. The purpose of the Agreement is to affirm Diavik's commitment to engaging Aboriginal people and communities affected by the mine, and fostering an 'effective working relationship' with them by providing opportunities for local 'capacity-building and sustainable economic development' (Article 1.1).|
|Background to the Agreement|
Together with the Diavik Diamond Mines Environmental Agreement (2000), this Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement was intended to comply with two important criteria included in the environmental assessment for the Diavik Diamonds Project. This assessment was contained in a Comprehensive Study Report (CSR), which was issued in June 1999 by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) following a 15-month comprehensive inquiry into the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Diavik Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The inquiry was undertaken in conjunction with the the Canadian Departments of Fisheries and Oceans and Natural Resources, using input from various levels of government, Aboriginal groups, Northern communities, non-governmental organisations and the general public.
The Diavik Diamonds Project Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement has subsequently been ratified through the signing of individual Participation Agreements with each of the five Aboriginal groups that were party to it. These Participation Agreements set out a strategy for Diavik to work with these communities in order to enhance their access to employment, scholarship and local business benefits. Four of these agreements also set up formal implementation committees that provide an external check on Diavik's socio-economic performance (Rio Tinto, Community/Indigenous Participation).
The Diavik Diamonds Project Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement was signed by the following parties:
Commitments under this Agreement
The Diavik Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement affirms DDMI's commitment to providing benefits to Northern Canada through training, employment and business opportunities. This commitment extends to all Northern residents, including Aboriginal Northerners and, in particular, the Diavik Diamond Mine project's neighbouring Aboriginal communities.
Under Appendix A of this Agreement, Diavik has committed to structure its hiring policy in accordance with the goal of 'recruiting and hiring as many northerners as possible'. In particular, this policy aims to have 66% of Diavik's mining operations workforce and 40% of its construction workforce filled by Northerners. It also stipulates that 40% of the operation's workforce is to be northern Aboriginal, with Aboriginal persons listed at the top of the company's recruitment priorities, and followed by northerners who live in the vicinity of the mine.
Under s 9 of Appendix A, Diavik has also agreed to requiring its contractors to take up employment and recruitment policies that are consistent with these commitments. This includes an agreement to evaluate contractor bids based on whether their proposals include appropriate commitments to hire northerners.
Under this Agreement, Diavik has committed to training residents of the Northwest Territories throughout the life of the mine. In developing its training programs, Diavik has agreed to focus on the following initiatives, which are listed in Appendix B:
Diavik will collaborate with Aboriginal people to encourage the development and delivery of its training programs. The company will also consult with the Communities Advisory Board in the ongoing review and development of these programs.
The Government of Northwest Territories is also committed to enhancing training opportunities by supporting a number of initiatives including the provision of training allowances and support services, career counselling and training program delivery (see Appendix B).
Diavik has also agreed, wherever practicable, to implement policies that are intended to maximise business opportunities for Northern businesses (Appendix C). This means that in considering contract bids, Diavik will prioritise Aboriginal and Northern businesses, and will take a number of measures to enhance project-related business opportunities. These measures include:
In addition, Diavik has committed to purchasing 38% of its total goods and services from Northern businesses during the construction phase of the diamond mine project, and 70% during its operations phase.
Cultural and Community Well-Being
To offset problems caused by the remote location of the Diavik diamond mine, the company has had to make a number of commitments to maintain the well-being of Aboriginal employees and local communities (Missens et al, 2006, 288). These are listed in Appendix D, and include the following:
Diavik Communities Advisory Board
Article 2.1 of this Agreement also establishes a new Communities Advisory Board charged with representing the Neighbouring Aboriginal Communities, the government of the Northwest Territories and Diavik itself. Meeting on a regular basis, the Advisory Board monitors, reviews and makes recommendations on the parties' fulfilment of their commitments under this Agreement. The Advisory Board also reviews and monitors the socio-economic impacts of the diamond mine project.
Pursuant to this Agreement, Diavik is to report to the Advisory Board twice a year on issues relating to its commitments in areas such as employment and economic diversification.
|A number of bi-annual reports on the outcomes of the Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement have been made to the Advisory Board since 1999. The latest of these is the 2010 Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement Report, which was published by Rio Tinto on 31 January 2011. According to this report, Northern and Aboriginal employment at Diavik's operations averaged 561 people (62%) and 269 people (30%) respectively. These figures fall short of the 66% and 40% goals expressed in the Agreement, but exceed them in terms of sheer numbers, with the mine employing an average of 907 workers rather than the 450 envisaged in the Agreement (Rio Tinto, 2011, 5; Rice, 2005). |
In terms of apprenticeship, workplace literacy and other training programs, Diavik was able to deliver a number of community courses that sought not only to raise skill levels, but also to improve community infrastructure (Missens et al, 2006, 287). These courses enabled 24 people to successfully complete trades apprenticeships at Diavik since 2003 (Rio Tinto, 2011, 5). They also led to a rise in literacy rates in the region, not only among mine workers, but also in the general population (Rice, 2005).
Apart from Diavik's contribution to training and employment in the Northwest region, 73% of its $4.8 billion cumulative spending since 2000 was with northern firms, and around 41% with Aboriginal businesses (Rio Tinto, 2011). Diavik was also able to contribute to community initiatives such as the construction of a dementia facility, the sponsorship of the Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby and the establishment of drug and alcohol awareness and environment-related workshops (Rio Tinto, 2011; Natural Resources Canada, 2006).
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