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November 07 Businessexcellence 137 Victor are subject to four IBAs. In respect of Snap Lake, agreement was reached with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in November 2005, the Tlicho Government in March 2006 and the North Slave Metis Alliance in August 2006. The last of the four impact agreements, with the Lutsel K’e and Kache Dene First Nation members was agreed in April 2007. The official signing ceremony for the Impact Benefit Agreement with Lutsel K’e is set to take place on Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2007 in Lutsel K’e, NT. I wondered why they were spread out like that. “They all started around the same time,” says Gowans. “Once you have an instruction to determine the socio-economic impact, identifying the communities that are going to be impacted on, you have to start having discussions about the Impact Benefit Agreement. Some native organizations are fairly well organized, in which case you can get an agreement fairly quickly. They understand what’s required, they understand what they’re looking for, they’re committed to a long term partnership.” As in any other negotiation, he says, it depends on the overall capability within the organization you’re dealing with, the level of trust between both parties, and whether everyone’s demands are reasonable. “We’ve got two out of the four agreements at Victor already,” he says. “Of the two agreements we don’t have, one of the communities has been struggling with flooding; you just get started negotiating and something happens in the community, so it gets put on hold. There are lots of other reasons. I think the shortest time it took to do an IBA was four days, with the North Slave Metis in Yellowknife. They knew what they were looking for, they were keen to get going on it, there was a high level of trust, so we sat down De Beers Canada Environmental Impact Review (EIR), the first time a mining project in the Northwest Territories has been required to undergo such a review. De Beers Canada requested a judicial review to clarify the validity of the referral under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, but the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories issued a ruling upholding the decision on April 2nd, this year. “We got clarity but we ended up with a longer process,” says Gowans. “It’s going to add at least a year to the permitting process, so you’re looking at two to three years now. It’s a bit frustrating when you think that all the diamond mines in the Northwest Territories are dealing with same issues in the same kind of area, but the permitting process has been different with all of them.” So what are you allowed to do during the permitting process? “We do engineering studies,” says Gowans. “Gahcho Kué is a good example. We’re drilling to increase the resource, we can get temporary permits for that, so we’re expanding the ore reserve, the resource, and getting it better defined to eliminate any uncertainty in the feasibility studies. You also do a lot of baseline environmental studies—biophysical impact, which is the impact on fish and flora and fauna and water flows in the river systems, to look at the impact on the overall watershed. You’re also out in the communities having a consultation process as part of the overall permitting process.” Another challenge that is undergoing its own evolution is the question of Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) with the local First Nation peoples. “That adds another level of complexity but it’s not unique to diamond mining,” says Gowans. “If I was operating a base metal mine in the same area the same conditions would apply.” Both Snap Lake and Nahanni Construction Ltd. has served the needs of clients in the construction and mining industry in Canada’s north since 1985. Civil, industrial and commercial projects have been successfully executed and managed, including underground construction, cement supply, concrete placement and HDPE pipeline work. We are safety oriented and one of an elite group who can boast pouring concrete at 40 degrees below zero! Nahanni Construction DSI Mining Canada, part of the DYWIDAG Systems International group, brings to the Canadian mining market the strengths, expertise and engineered solutions from DSI around the globe. With three manufacturing facilities in Canada supported by five offices, DSI Mining Canada truly offers a local presence and global competence. DSI is committed to being the best ground support business partner available providing exceptional service, high quality products, great value and on-site support that easily distinguish DSI Mining Canada from the competition. DSI Mining Canada “Diamond mines are unique in that in order to go into a feasibility study, you have to get a large bulk sample to establish the value of the diamonds in the rock—not just the grade”