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Proposed diamond mine could brings benefits.

If De Beers Canada goes ahead with development of a proposed diamond mine in northern Ontario, the project should result in a number of economic spin-offs for Attawapiskat First Nation.

Attawapiskat is located about 90 km from the site of the proposed Victor project, which would see an open pit diamond mine, a processing plant, workshops, warehouses, offices, fuel storage and accommodation facilities developed on the site.

A pit dewatering system would also be constructed, along with an airstrip, and a new winter road linking Attawapiskat to the mine site. Existing roads between Moosonee and Attawapiskat would also be improved as part of the project, and new power transmission lines would be installed from Otter Rapids to Kashechewan and from Attawapiskat to the mine.

On June 21 of this year, the membership of Attawapiskat First Nation ratified an impact benefit agreement for the Victor mine project, negotiated with De Beers Canada. The agreement outlines the company's commitments to provide training, education, employment and business opportunities to members of the community. It also sets out requirements for environmental management and how De Beers will deal with social and cultural issues. A financial compensation package is also part of the benefit agreement.

If it goes ahead, the Victor mine will create employment for about 600 people during the three-year construction phase, and about 380 permanent positions once it's up and running. De Beers expects the mine will produce for about 12 years, during which time an estimated 28.7 million tonnes of kimberlite would be extracted. It's estimated six million tonnes of diamonds will be produced over the life of the mine, bringing in an annual revenue of $117 million.

The mine project is expected to impact a 5,000-hectare section of land in the area.

On Aug. 19, Indian and Northern Affairs announced $363,300 in funding to Attawapiskat First Nation to help the community take advantage of some of the economic development opportunities that will come if De Beers proceeds with the Victor mine.

That same day, Stephane Dion, federal minister of the Environment and minister responsible for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, announced the Victor project doesn't require further assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:natural resources
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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