Writer Winona Laduke of Honor the Earth, an American Indian organization. claimed that our company had “invaded a territory” in Canada’s far north, had pulled “$5 billion worth of diamonds out annually” and had relegated the local First Nations people to “Third World conditions.” Even a cursory review of the facts would reveal the reports about our company are not remotely accurate.
Prior to constructing our mine in northern Ontario, we spent three years negotiating an Impact Benefit Agreement with the community, which later ratified the agreement with a vote of 85 percent. Since the start of construction, this fly-in/fly-out remote community of 1,800 residents has been awarded more than $350 million in business contracts to community-owned businesses. The $5 billion referenced by the author was the global gross sales figure for all countries De Beers operates in and not for this Canadian operation, which is one of the smallest in the company.
In less than five years, we have exceeded hiring targets as 40 percent of our workforce is self-identified First Nations members, half of which are from the local community. We encourage your readers to learn more about De Beers’ commitment to sustainable development and the environment at www.debeersgroup.com.
Director, External & Corporate Affairs
De Beers Canada