Diamond mine operators tout socio-economic report, Indigenous and female hiring practices

Photo courtesy of de Beers Canada

De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds are out with the Gahcho Kué Mine SocioEconomic Report: Building Forever 2018.

A news release from de Beers states that the number of Northwest Territories residents employed at joint venture Gahcho Kué Mine rose by 12 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year.

The diamond mine, located about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, provided 527 person years of employment during the year, of whom 265, or 50 per cent, live in the NWT, an increase of 29 over 2017, according to the release.

That includes both De Beers Group and contractor employees.

“Our commitment to contributing to local communities is expressed through jobs, spending with northern businesses and corporate social investment. It is encouraging to see Gahcho Kué improving each year, establishing a solid foundation for a long-term positive impact in the Northwest Territories,” said Kim Truter, De Beers Group CEO, Canada.

The report also shows:

• 26 per cent of all Gahcho Kué Mine employees are Indigenous residents of the NWT;

• The number of women working at the mine increased to 20 per cent of the total workforce;

• 72 per cent of the $291 million spent on goods and services during 2018 was with NWT and Indigenous companies, well above the 60% commitment made in the Socio-Economic Agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories;

• $530,000 was spent in communities through corporate social investment programs;

• Mine employees took part in a total of 24,000 hours of training;

• 13 NWT residents were hired into training positions at the mine, six in the process plant, five in mining and two in apprenticeship positions; and,

• A number of initiatives were launched during the year aimed to support employee wellness, including a weight management program and a visit by a sleep expert to help employees manage shift work, among others.

Stuart Brown is President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds.

“Our corporate social responsibility is measured in terms of improving conditions for our employees, shareholders, communities, and environment and our long-term success as a business is entirely dependent on our commitment to ensuring long term sustainability of the environment and communities in which we operate. We are very proud of our achievements in the Northwest Territories. The quality of our assets, along with our relationships with local communities and regulatory bodies are key factors to the success of our company and we believe we are well positioned for this.”

Among the highlights in 2018 were the continuation of De Beers Group’s popular Books in Homes program, which saw 6,900 books provided free of charge to youth in local communities and nine Grade 7-9 girls from the NWT attend the University of Waterloo IMPACT Camp for Indigenous Girls.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com