Three First Nations groups in Canada's Northwest Territories are preparing to challenge De Beers over environmental damage they claim is caused by the diamond company to Snap Lake, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. The Lutsel K'e Dene and other bands say that the chloride levels in the lake are currently over a hundred times higher than they were before De Beers built its diamond mine nearby about ten years ago.
As part of its onsite operations, De Beers extracts waste water from the underground mine and pumps these into Snap Lake. At a public hearing this week, De Beers will propose that acceptable chloride levels for the lake be doubled, so as to permit its continued functioning. Current limits, however, are already 150% over the recommended levels for preserving fish habitat; at the firm's Victor mine in Ontario, levels are now 900% over recommended levels.
The native groups warn that if the current rate of pollution persists, Snap Lake will not return to its former healthy state for almost a century after the mine eventually ceases operations. They are recommending that De Beers treat the water and reduce its chloride levels before pumping it into the lake, according to the CBC.