YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, December 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Economic benefits for the Northwest Territories and Canada, a comprehensive environmental plan and extensive engagement with communities and regulators drew praise from both government and a number of Aboriginal groups that attended five days of public hearings into the proposed Gahcho Kué Project, 280km northeast of Yellowknife.
Gahcho Kué, a joint venture of De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds, began the Environmental Impact Review process in 2006. In December 2011, an 11,000 page Environmental Impact Statement was submitted to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. The Gahcho Kué Panel struck by the Board held community and public hearings in Dettah, Lutsel K'e and Yellowknife between November 30 and December 7.
De Beers Canada Chief Operating Officer Glen Koropchuk, who provided opening remarks at the Yellowknife hearings on behalf of the Gahcho Kué JV, said the years of working collaboratively with the local communities near the Gahcho Kué site helped shape the project design. "We are confident that the Project is not only technically sound, but also reflects our commitment to sustainable development by listening to our community partners and incorporating key input that makes this project viable and respects local priorities."
The proposed Gahcho Kué Project comes at a time when the GDP of the Northwest Territories has started to decline due to the reduced output from the territories' two oldest diamond producers.
Mountain Province Diamonds President & CEO Patrick Evans said: "Since the discovery of Gahcho Kué 20 years ago, more than $200 million has been invested in exploration, social and environmental studies, engineering design, feasibility studies and consultation. This reflects an extraordinary commitment on the part of our shareholders to the people and diamond industry of Canada's Northwest Territories. Last week's public hearings mark an important milestone towards the development of Canada's next great diamond mine. The successful permitting of Gahcho Kué will secure the Northwest Territories' position as one of the world's leading diamond producing regions".
During the hearings, a groundbreaking collaborative monitoring forum, Ni Hadi Yati , was proposed jointly by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation, Deninu K'ue First Nation, Tlicho Government and De Beers. This forum would be funded by the Gahcho Kué JV and is proposed to provide increased capacity to Aboriginal groups to improve understanding and involvement in environmental monitoring programs. The North Slave Métis Alliance and NWT Métis Nation have also been invited to participate.
De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds wish to thank all those that participated in the public hearings and throughout the Environmental Impact Review process and look forward to a positive report from the Gahcho Kué Panel of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board.
About De Beers Group:
De Beers Group is a member of the Anglo American plc group. Established in 1888, De Beers is the world's leading diamond company with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers employs approximately 16,000 people across the diamond pipeline, and is the world's largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. As part of the company's operating philosophy, the people of De Beers are committed to Living up to Diamonds by making a lasting contribution to the communities in which they live and work, and transforming natural resources into shared national wealth. De Beers operates two mines in Canada, the underground Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories and the open pit Victor Mine in northern Ontario. For further information about De Beers visit http://www.debeersgroup.com.
SOURCE: Mountain Province Diamonds Inc.