March 10, 2000

Environmental agreement reached for Diavik project

An environmental agreement regarding the Diavik diamond mine project in the Northwest Territories has been reached, following negotiations involving the operator, Diavik Diamond Mines (DDM), the federal and territorial governments, and several First Nations groups. Once the accord has been ratified, it should speed thte issuing of final project authorizations.

The agreement sets out the environmental monitoring and reporting requirements for the project, as well as terms governing the reclamation security deposit requirements. DDM says the accord is the first of its type in Canada, its key components including:

l mechanisms for proponent participation in a regional cumulative effects management forum;

l majority representation by aboriginal groups on the project's environmental advisory review board;

l progressive reclamation of mine workings to achieve incremental abandonment, in a manner consistent with sustainable development principles;

l the provision of environmental security consistent with life-of-mine closure costs and progressive reclamation, as well as additional security to meet federal government requirements for adequate funding in the event of premature mine closure. The maximum security required is estimated at $180 million, taking into account credits for progressive reclamation.

Pending the issuing of final permits, DDM says it plans to remobilize its workforce at its existing camp facilities and utilize the remainder of its 2000 winter road season. Use of the winter road will depend both on weather conditions and the issuing of pertinent land use permits by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

More information is available from DDM president and CEO Robert Gannicott, 416/362-2237, ext 225, or chairman John Lamacraft, 416/362-2230, ext 237.

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