«Introduction The Northwest Territories is a land of untold beauty, where Northern Lights shine over the snow and ice of winter and where the summer ...»
The Positive Impact of Diamond Mining
in the Northwest Territories | 1998-2012
A joint briefing paper prepared by BHP Billiton EKATI,
Rio Tinto Diavik Diamond Mines, and De Beers
The Positive Impact of Diamond Mining in the Northwest
Territories - 1998-2012
The Northwest Territories is a land of untold beauty, where Northern Lights shine over
the snow and ice of winter and where the summer sun glows over the rocks, trees and
tundra. It is a land of unique challenges, created by the distance and the climate, and the very landscape that makes the North so beautiful. The Dene, Inuvialuit, and Métis people who call the NWT home did not tame this land: they adapted to it, their cultures and communities shaped by the environment in which they live.
The companies that mine the NWT diamonds have learned from this example. To mine the beautiful gems that have been locked in the rock for hundreds of millions of years has taken creativity, cooperation, and the will to get things done.
Since diamonds were discovered here some 20 years ago, our companies have helped shape a sustainable future for the Northwest Territories and its residents. We have worked with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada, Aboriginal governments and communities, training agencies and local residents, to build a strong and prosperous northern economy that has led the nation in growth.
A look at the numbers:
Billions of dollars have been spent with Northern and Aboriginal businesses, creating dynamic businesses capable of competing on the world stage;
Millions of dollars have been generated for governments of all levels, that has gone to infrastructure upgrades, helped fund social programs, supported schools and health care;
Tens of millions more dollars in social investment from our companies have flowed to local communities. This has helped build recreation facilities, provided education and training opportunities, funded sports teams and supported cultural activities. Significant investments have been made towards increased capacity for poverty-reduction and social wellness initiatives.
Over 1,400 people have received training for jobs at the diamond mines – training which has provided a base of skilled Northerners; and, 1 MEASURING SUCCESS January 2013 Hundreds more Northern residents are working at the diamond mines today than any of us ever predicted.
The most important statistic is the number of people who have found well-paying, meaningful employment at the three diamond mines.
Each company made predictions about the number of northern jobs that would be provided at their mines. Collectively, EKATI, Diavik, and the Snap Lake Mine are employing significantly more northerners than our companies had predicted. In 2011, 1,541 northern FTE jobs were provided, representing 403 jobs more than were predicted during the mines’ environmental assessments.
It is essential to understand the impact that diamond mining has had on NWT employment since 2001. The NWT workforce has grown over time but so has the number of Northerners at work, peaking in 2007 when about 94.5% of the workforce was employed. GNWT Bureau of Statistics data shows how the number of Northerners employed in the forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas sectors surged by 71 per cent
between 2001 and 2007. There has also been a growth in jobs in related sectors during that time period, like construction, trade, transportation and warehousing.
The arrival of the diamond mining industry brought with it a surge in NWT employment and in the number of people looking for work because of the opportunities offered by the mines. The number of Northerners participating in the workforce – people who are either working or actively looking for work - grew between 2001 and 2011, as did the Territory’s employment rate. In fact, the NWT employment rate over that time is nine points higher than the national average.
This is our shared story of success by employing Northerners and creating a solid foundation upon which to build continued prosperity.
Committed to Working Safely Our success story includes our shared commitment to mining diamonds safely, securely and profitably, without harm to people or the environment.
Diavik has won four regional John T. Ryan Safety Awards and one national John T.
Ryan Safety Award since 2004, and in 2010 recorded 3 million hours without a lost time injury.
Snap Lake Mine achieved one million hours without a lost time injury in October of this year and was John T. Ryan Regional Award winner for 2009.
EKATI won the national John T. Ryan Award in 2007 for the best safety performance in the Select Mine Category in recognition of over 2 million hours without a lost time injury and in 2011 achieved 1.3 million hours without a lost time injury.
Our mine rescue teams compete in friendly competitions hosted by the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission annually. This test of skills and abilities demonstrates our commitments to safety excellence in a public arena. This year, the NWT was proud to be represented by two diamond mines at the 8th International Mine Rescue Competition in Donetsk, Ukraine. Diavik’s mine rescue team finished third among 26 teams from 13 countries. EKATI’s Emergency Response Team finished 6th overall and achieved a 1st place finish in the Rescue Engineering Problem competition. Our collective approach to working safely has made a significant impact on the safety culture within our organizations but also with many other businesses and organizations involved in our operations. We believe that these safety standards will continue to rise as a result of our presence in the North.
Our story of success also includes the beneficial impact of northern procurement by all three companies. From 1996-2011, the three companies spent a total of $12.8 billion to build and operate the mines. Of this, $9.25 billion or 72% was spent with northern companies and joint ventures, including $4.2 billion or 33% of the northern spend with Aboriginal companies.
Whether it is catering, transportation, site support services, mining supplies or logistics support, Northern businesses are important business partners for the diamond mining industry.
A sample of the range of services provided by northern Aboriginal businesses:
Det’on Cho Corporation (Yellowknives Dene First Nation) – Bouwa Whee Catering, Det’on Cho Logistics, Det’on Cho Mining Supplies, Det’on Cho Scarlet Security; Det’on Cho Medic North, Kete Whii/Procon, I&D Management Métcor (North Slave Métis Alliance) – Sodhexo (catering), Metcrete Services, North Slave Freighters Tlicho Investment Corporation (Tlicho Government) – Tli Cho Logistics, Tli Cho LandTran, Tli Cho/Orica Mining Services, I&D Management, Tlicho Domco, Air Tindi/Tlicho Air Denesoline Corporation (Lutsel K’e First Nation) – Denesoline Western Explosives, Ventures West, I&D Management Nuna Logistics (Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kitikmeot Cementation Mining Development)
Diavik has invested $33 million on a 9.2 megawatt four turbine wind farm that will reduce fuel consumption on the mine by at least 10 per cent and lower its carbon footprint by six per cent and cut the number of fuel trucks driving NWT highways by 100 loads. The groundbreaking project sets the stage for future alternative energy projects in the NWT.
EKATI recently enhanced its recycling program and in October recycled 54,000 lbs at the mine, a significant accomplishment towards the goal of zero waste. Upgrades were also completed to provide electronic fuel injection for two of the seven generators in EKATI’s Power House. Waste heat from the Power House at EKATI is used to heat the accommodations building and the underground operations. In 2006 BHP Billiton was recognized by the Green House Gas Registries as a Silver Champion Level Reporter in the Canadian Green House Gas Challenge Registry. EKATI continues to be acknowledged as a leader through the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative for its Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management plans. This year, EKATI received two TSM Awards for Tailings Management and for Aboriginal and Community Outreach.
At Snap Lake, De Beers has invested in improved generator efficiency and underground electrical controls over the past couple of years, work that is estimated to save up to 1.8 million litres of diesel annually.
All the diamond mines proudly maintain ISO14001 certified Environmental Management Systems with a focus on continued improvement. In addition since 2006, EKATI’s Sorting and Valuation Facility has BSI ISO 9001 certification for operating a Quality Management System in the preparation of diamonds for marketing, including rough diamond cleaning, sorting, valuation, Kimberly Process certification and shipping services. Diavik’s Product Splitting Facility has ISO 9001. All three mines’ Occupational Health and Safety systems have received ISO 18001 certification.
The above investments all support the mines’ operations but northern spending numbers are not complete without also considering the funding provided by the three companies through corporate social investment (CSI). Consider just some of the
community organizations that have benefited from our investment over the years:
- Aven Cottages Territorial Dementia Centre
- Bailey House
- BETTY House
- Chekoa Program
- Day Shelter for the Homeless
- Folk on the Rocks Festival
- Food Rescue
- Habitat for Humanity NWT
- Hay River Hospital Foundation
- Jobmatics Youth Career Focusing
- Kimberlite Career and Technical Centre
- Long John Jamboree
- Mine Training Society
- NWT Breakfast for Learning Program
- NWT SPCA Shelter
- Northern Students Education Initiative
- Shorty Brown Arena
- Side Door Youth Centre
- Skills Canada NWT
- Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation
- Hay River Hospital Foundation
- Wekweeti Arbour
- YWCA Programs CSI also includes spending on scholarships, cultural and social events like hand games tournaments, enhanced programming options in IBA community schools such as technology upgrades, on-the-land enrichment programs and cultural facilities, literacy development, Inspired Ice – NWT Ice Carving Championship, and support for hockey and golf tournaments, raffles and so much more.
Combined, the three companies have contributed $102.8 million to communities close by over the past 15 years.
Training Success The long term success of the diamond mining industry on the north is the impact of training initiatives. At EKATI there have been 145 Apprentice Employees since 1998, more than half of whom are known to have achieved journeyperson certification. Each year approximately 10 new apprenticeships begin their training with either BHP Billiton or one of its many contractor companies. Diavik's commitment is to have between eight and 18 apprentices on site employed by DDMI or its contractors. Currently, Diavik supports 36 apprentices, of whom all are northern and 21 are northern Aboriginal. Since 2003, some 32 northerners have completed apprenticeships to achieve journeyperson designations. Over its mine life, Diavk’s goal is to produce over 100 trained 7 MEASURING SUCCESS January 2013 journeypersons. De Beers committed to 40 training positions during the first three years of operations, and by the end of 2011, had exceeded that commitment with 66 total trainees hired since 2008. Snap Lake Mine has only been in operation for four years, and during that time six apprentices have received journeyperson certification.
Combined, we and our training partners have provided training to 1,400 northern residents, supporting a new generation of millwrights, electricians, mechanics, underground miners, process plant operators and much more. Of these trainees, the vast majority are Aboriginal.
This investment in training is not without risk. Not all trainees complete their programs, dropping out for a variety of reasons predominantly personal, including drug and alcohol abuse. Some go on to work productively for other companies, both within the North and in the rest of Canada.
All of us have focused much of their attention internally on training northern employees, with fully equipped learning centres, award winning Workplace Learning Programs and dedicated training staff supporting apprentices and trainee positions. For many years all three mines have individually been recognized for their specific contributions towards training and development. For example in 2003, the Government of Canada awarded BHP Billiton the Canada Export Award for Job Creation Achievement and again in 2005, for Community Impact. These prestigious awards recognized EKATI’s contribution to the communities in which it operates. Diavik has been named one of Canada’s top employers three times, in 2009, 2010 and 2012. De Beers received an NWT Ministerial Literacy Award in 2009 for its Books in Homes program, which delivers books to students in aboriginal communities close to its operations as a way to boost literacy levels.
8 MEASURING SUCCESS January 2013 Additionally we have active recruitment departments and participate in northern career fairs, target recruitment efforts in fly-point communities, and work closely with community-based Career Development Officers to attract job-ready candidates to hire.
Much has been accomplished in cooperation with various training agencies, especially the Mine Training Society (MTS) of the NWT.
Of the $26.4 million provided to MTS by various levels of government since 2004, $23 million went to support training for diamond mine positions. We have also supported MTS programs, with $11.4 million in cash and in-kind investments between 2004 and 2012.