TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation and De Beers Canada Inc are pleased to announce the formal signing of an Impact Benefits Agreement (IBA) for the Victor Mine in the Northern Ontario James Bay Lowlands.
The agreement became effective July 10, 2009 when each community completed ratification of the agreement. Negotiated over a five year period, the IBA includes provisions regarding implementation of the agreement, education, training, employment and business opportunities related to the operation of the mine, protection of the environment, support of community and cultural practices and compensation for any loss of or impact on traditional lands or way of life during the operation of the mine.
"This IBA is a fair agreement for our people", said Kashechewan Chief Jonathan Solomon. "It respects our way of life. At the same time, it provides opportunities for our youth and our work force. It also provides compensation to assist us to manage the impacts of the mine on our livelihood and it recognizes the need to protect wildlife and the environment."
Because both the Kashechewan First Nation and the Fort Albany First Nation jointly hold and occupy the lands that make up Indian Reserve No. 67, there is one IBA, which has been negotiated jointly and signed by both First Nations. Following a series of information sessions held in each of the communities, members of both Nations ratified the IBA. Then both Chiefs and Councils passed Band Council Resolutions to confirm the ratifications and to authorize the Chiefs to sign the IBA.
Fort Albany Chief Andrew Solomon said, "At times, these negotiations were difficult. We were not always confident that De Beers understood and respected our ways. The IBA provides us with the reassurances we need to move ahead. We look forward to the benefits we will share from the mine."
This is the third IBA for the De Beers Canada Victor Mine, further strengthening the partnerships between De Beers Canada and the local First Nation communities in which it operates. Impact Benefit Agreements were previously signed with Attawapiskat First Nation in November 2005 and with Moose Cree First Nation in September 2007.
"De Beers Canada is committed to sustainable and meaningful development with our community partners and this new agreement with Kashechewan First Nation and Fort Albany First Nation is an important step in building more opportunities together", said Jim Gowans, President & CEO of De Beers Canada Inc. "The Victor Mine already has a strong history of cooperation with our community partners and we believe the benefits from this operation will have a positive impact for many years to come".
Ceremonial signing took place in each community on Tuesday, December 1, 2009.
SOURCE De Beers Canada Corporation
For further information: For further information: Kashechewan First Nation: Chief Jonathan Solomon, (705) 275-4440; Fort Albany First Nation: Chief Andrew Solomon, (705) 278-1044; De Beers Canada: Tom Ormsby, Director, External & Corporate Affairs, De Beers Canada, (416) 645-1710, ext 2151, Tom.Ormsby@ca.debeersgroup.com, www.debeerscanada.com; Heather Duhn, Communications Coordinator, De Beers Canada Victor Mine, (705) 268-0988, ext 299, Heather.Duhn@ca.debeersgroup.com, www.debeerscanada.com