The Diavik Mine ought to be a model for mining operations in the North West Territories. This mine has large wind turbines to provide electric power for mine operations. The result is that GHG emissions from the Mine have fallen by 6%, reducing the need for diesel fuel (the source of these emissions) by 5 million litres.
For Our Grandchildren (4RG) has been told that the Mine owners will amortize the large costs of this wind farm in a matter of years. So shouldn’t this be the standard demanded from all other new mines that are to be opened in the NWT? And shouldn’t it be a matter of policy to see that wind becomes the source of power for all aboriginal and northern communities and resource operations?
DeBeers, the world’s largest and wealthiest international diamond merchant, and its Canadian partner just recently obtained NWT Board approval of the Gahcho Kue open-pit mine 300 km north-east of Yellowknife. A spokesperson described the new mine as the world’s largest and richest new diamond development project.
The Board recognized that unless measures are taken Gahcho Kue is likely to cause significant adverse impacts on a caribou herd. Although the Board imposed a number of conditions to reduce these impacts, aboriginal interests are requesting the Minister, Bernard Valcourt, demand more stringent protection for the herd as a condition of his confirmation of the approval.
DeBeers has a well-thought-out and well presented policy on the environment. It states:
“The guiding Principles of the De Beers Group of Companies articulate our commitment to taking responsibility for the short and long term economic, social and environmental implications of decisions across the diamond pipeline.”
DeBeers stated that, as the operator, it is committed to building this new mine to high safety standards and with deep respect for the land. Why not deep respect for the atmosphere? In its own environmental policy DeBeers identifies “reducing greenhouse gas emissions and participating in climate change initiatives” as a specific goal mandated by its guiding Principles.
Yet DeBeers has not proposed installation of renewable energy sources to reduce GHG emissions from this minw. Minister Valcourt, who has the final say, should make approval of the mine subject to best practices in reducing these emissions.
DeBeers should follow its own diamond standard for GHG emissions.