- Category: news
- Created: Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:49
- Published: Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:49
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Tlicho Government, Lutsel K'e Dene Band and Yellowknives Dene ask feds to return project to review board
Northern News Services
A trio of First Nations governments have called on the federal government to punt the proposed Gahcho Kue diamond mine back to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board for further study.
The project conditionally passed its environmental assessment on July 19, but the Tlicho Government, Lutsel K'e Dene Band and the Yellowknives Dene issued a letter to Minister Bernard Valcourt and the review board on Aug. 20, outlining measures that fall short of their environmental and cultural needs.
"We are concerned that the report of the environmental assessment that was issued does not contain measures (with respect to) our rights and responsibilities to steward the land," Tlicho Grand Chief Edward Erasmus told News/North. "We concluded that the report of the environmental impact review has failed to assign measures in almost every area considered significant to the Tlicho government and others."
Gahcho Kue, located 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, is 51 per cent owned by De Beers in joint venture partnership with 49 per cent owner Mountain Province Diamonds.
The signatories request there be a review of key areas, such as water quality and the management of Kennady Lake, caribou, air quality and cultural impacts.
"Our way of life is being affected in those areas where we traditionally do our harvest of wildlife in that area and we can no longer do that," Erasmus said. "According to our traditional knowledge, any activity that happens in the vicinity of the migratory routes affects the (Bathurst) caribou. So, it could mean the pattern of migration could change."
Tlicho representatives visited the Gahcho Kue site to examine the project late last month. The Tlicho government is negotiating an impact benefit agreement.
"We're hoping that we're working toward the latter end of the negotiations so we can come up with a meaningful agreement quicker rather than dragging on the issue too long," Erasmus said.
Gahcho Kue, with an estimated mine life of 11 years, would be the NWT's fourth diamond mine and De Beers' second in the territory.