Community engagement and investment

While our obligations to communities and people are spelled out in contractual agreements and regulations, Dominion Diamond strives to meet both the letter and the spirit of those commitments.

Engagement

We maintain regular dialogue with communities around our mining operations, recognizing that our presence can bring both opportunities and concerns for residents. It is important to share information on mine operations, new projects, business and employment opportunities, and wildlife and environmental initiatives. And it is essential to listen, discuss, and incorporate feedback into our plans and activities.

At the Ekati mine, we are guided by the Ekati Mine Engagement Plan, which outlines well-established activities that build on practices developed during the early days of the mine. We hold regular community and Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) meetings, workshops, and site visits, and we involve Elders and IBA youth in Traditional Knowledge and environmental monitoring projects. Environmental reports are submitted to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB), all of which are posted to the WLWB’s public registry where any party can provide comment or questions.

The main topic of discussion in recent meetings related to the Jay Project. We shared our plans and project status, conducted site visits, collaborated on studies, and answered questions. A prime example was the Tłı̨chǫ What’aa Project, in which Tłı̨chǫ Elders studied varying properties of natural eskers close to Mesa Lake to identify community-based concepts that may be useful in the planning, construction, and reclamation of mine waste rock piles.

As part of our commitment to keeping communities informed, both the Ekati mine and the Diavik mine publish annual reports related to their socio-economic performance. The reports are posted to our website and can be downloaded here:

Diavik Diamond Mine 2015 Sustainable Development Report
Ekati Diamond Mine 2015 Socio-Economic Agreement Report

Investment

The Ekati mine has commitments under a Socio-Economic Agreement (SEA) with the Government of the Northwest Territories that has been in place since 1996, prior to our acquisition of the mine. These commitments relate to employment, community development, and business opportunities for northerners and northern Aboriginal residents. Our 2015 highlights are presented below. The Ekati Diamond Mine 2015 Socio-Economic Agreement Report provides performance details.

Employment:

  • Dominion Diamond employed 710 northern residents*, of whom 59% were northern Aboriginal, exceeding our SEA target of 50%.

Business opportunities:

  • We strive to maintain positive working relationships with northern and northern Aboriginal contractors to build capacity for northern local businesses, and to have a positive impact on the northern economy.
  • Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures have secured numerous contracts at the Ekati mine, including contracts for mining services, explosives and blasting supply, catering, transportation services, janitorial services, as well as freight, cargo, and mail transportation services.
  • In 2015, Dominion Diamond spent over $258 million in the North, with close to 40% ($97.4 million) going directly to Aboriginal businesses.
  • The majority of the Ekati mine’s 2015 northern expenditure went into three categories:
    • Earth moving equipment (through Finning, Atlas Copco, Sandvik, All West Glass, and SMS Equipment)
    • Freight, cargo, and mail transport (through Northcan, KBX, First Air, and Great Slave Helicopters)
    • Mine drilling and blasting services (through Kete Whii Procon Mining & Tunneling, Major Drilling, Foraco, and McCaw Drilling)

* Figure represents person years. One person year equals 2,080 hours per year, except for construction, which equals 2,736 hours per year.

Ekati Mine 2015 Expenditure by Priority Group

Pie Chart

Community development

Canada
Through the Ekati Plus Community Development Program, we provide financial and in-kind support to northern initiatives that are innovative and have a long-lasting impact on the people and communities of the North. Our efforts include funding Traditional Knowledge activities in order to promote and support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis heritage; and investing in the future of the North by supporting youth education and literacy initiatives. See page 19 of the Ekati Diamond Mine 2015 Socio-Economic Agreement Report for a list of the groups supported.

In 2015, Dominion Diamond contributed over $6.6 million to Northern communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut through IBA payments, IBA scholarships, and donations.

Diavik Diamond Mine also contributes approximately $5 million annually to local communities through Participation Agreements with Aboriginal communities, community projects, donations, and scholarship funding, of which Dominion Diamond contributes 40%, or $2 million. See page 25 of the Diavik Diamond Mine 2015 Sustainable Development Report for details.

International
In India, companies are required to spend 2% of their average net profit over the preceding three fiscal years on social development activities. Our Dominion Diamond India team recently created a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee to develop a CSR policy and guide activities.

Based on the needs of the local population, the committee identified four focus areas: health care, residences and day care facilities for the elderly, education, and empowerment of women. In 2015, the committee also interviewed several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to partner with Dominion Diamond India on CSR activities. The selected NGO was Dishantar, a grassroots organization working in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, India. Its goal is to empower underprivileged people in their drive for freedom and development. Dishantar also supports hamlet and livelihood development, empowerment of women, and education.

Our first CSR project, which started in 2016, is a clean water initiative that delivers domestic water purifiers to impoverished, remote communities. Not only do we provide funding, our employees also visit the communities to teach good home hygiene practices.

Dominion Diamond India invested approximately US $6,400 in CSR activities in 2015 and has a 2016 budget of US $35,000.