YELLOWKNIFE, June 8 /CNW/ - The union representing Ekati diamond mine
workers is welcoming Ricus Grimbeek - BHP Billiton's new mine president - to
the Northwest Territories.
And the Public Service Alliance of Canada says it is hopeful the union
and the new president can foster productive relations at the mine.
"We welcome Ricus Grimbeek to the Northwest Territories and the Ekati
diamond mine," said Jean-François Des Lauriers, PSAC Executive
Vice-President-North. "Grimbeek is an experienced mining executive from South
Africa who is also a proponent of corporate social responsibility."
"We hope that with his background, Grimbeek can find news ways to work
with our union members to everyone's mutual benefit," Des Lauriers said.
Grimbeek was appointed in May to replace Sean Brennan, the former Ekati
president who has taken a new position with Botswana's Debswana Diamond
Todd Parsons, President of the Union of Northern Workers component of
PSAC, which represents Diamond Workers UNW Local X3050, said the union is
looking forward to the future and an upcoming set of negotiations for a second
collective agreement, rather than backward to the difficult three-month strike
to win a first contract in the summer of 2006.
"Diamond workers and their union would like to be able to work with Ekati
and BHP Billiton to make the mine more successful and to build a better
labour-management relationship," Parsons said. "As the new president, we hope
Grimbeek will take a new approach to the workplace and we would welcome the
opportunity for greater cooperation."
Parsons said Grimbeek was responsible for corporate social investment and
sustainable environmental practices as Executive Vice-President at Lonmin
Platinum in South Africa.
PSAC and the UNW, a PSAC component, represent about 400 diamond mine
workers at Ekati. BHP Billiton owns 80% of Ekati, with geologists Chuck Fipke
and Stu Blusson, who found the diamond deposits in 1991, owning 10% each.
Ekati produces 6 per cent of the world's diamond supply by value or
4 per cent by weight and yields 3 to 5 million carats annually. It is located
300 km northeast of Yellowknife and 200 km south of the Arctic Circle.
For further information:
For further information: Jean-François Des Lauriers, (867) 669-0991 or
Todd Parsons, (867) 873-5668 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications -
(604) 844-7827 or cell (778) 896-0964; Websites: www.unw.ca &