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Gahcho Kue Operators, Yellowknives Dene First Nation Sign Agreement

Feb 18, 2014 2:56 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...   De Beers Canada Inc. and Mountain Province Diamonds entered into an impact benefit agreement (IBA) with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation people for the proposed Gahcho Kué diamond mine. The agreement describes a framework for which  De Beers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation ''will work together over the life of the mine and it enables participation by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the opportunities that the mine provides.

"The Gahcho Kué project is located within Chief Drygeese Territory.  Our members have lived on the land throughout our traditional territory, hunting, fishing and trapping since time immemorial," said Chief Edward Sangris. "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."

Glen Koropchuk, the chief operating officer for De Beers Canada, said, "We already have an established relationship with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation for our Snap Lake mine. This impact benefit agreement builds on that existing relationship and it confirms our commitment to work together for the benefit of Yellowknives Dene First Nation members as we advance the Gahcho Kué mine. I would like to congratulate both negotiating teams on work well done."

De Beers and Mountain Province expect that Gahcho Kué will employ close to 700 people during the two years of the mine's construction and close to 400 people during its operational phase. The Gahcho Kué life of mine is approximately 11 years in duration and it is expected to tap 49 million carats.

De Beers, as operator, controls a 51 percent stake in Gahcho Kué and joint-venture partner Mountain Province Diamonds controls a 49 percent stake. 

Members of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and their ancestors, the T'satsąot'inę, have occupied lands on the north side of Great Slave Lake for thousands of years. Within the area now known as the Chief Drygeese Territory, knowledge of trails, camps, birth and burial places, lakes, streams, animals and plants has been passed down through time from generation to generation.  The community is a party of the Akaitcho Process, which is currently negotiating a land claim agreement with the government of Canada under Treaty 8.

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Tags: Canada, first nations, Gahcho Kue, Jeff Miller, mining, venture agreement
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