Attawapiskat | First Nations | In the News
Attawapiskat First Nation versus De Beers Diamond Mine

Originally published in Socialist Project

October 20, 2020

Massive Garbage Dump in Fragile Wetlands Habitat?

In May 2019, production at De Beer’s Victor diamond mine on the traditional territories of Attawapiskat First Nation came to an end. In all, more than 8 million carats of diamonds were taken from the giant open pit mine that generating billions in revenues for the mine’s owners. But for many observers, the mine failed to deliver on its promise of prosperity for the near-by community. Indeed, while the company’s “tax and economic contribution reports” are keen to highlight the mine’s local procurement programs and the like, Attawapiskat continues to suffer from widespread poverty, unemployment and crumbling infrastructure. Just two months after the mine closed, the community declared an emergency over water quality. In 2013, documents showed that Attawapiskat’s diamond royalties, earned as part of an Impact-Benefits Agreement with the company, amounted to less than 1 per cent of the mine’s annual revenues. In 2018, the value of diamonds produced in Ontario reached $516-million, while royalty payments to Attawapiskat were just US$1.6-million.

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