De Beers reps meet with protesters – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 6, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Local management with the De Beers Victor diamond mine have been engaged in a series of community meetings in Attawapiskat in order to bring an end to a blockade which has prevented access to the mine since Monday night.

“There were approximately 16 (protesters involved with the blockade) when we arrived yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon,” Tom Ormsby, director of external and corporate affairs for De Beers Canada told The Daily Press. “Four individuals brought forward issues mainly related to employment, re-employment and training opportunities for them or family members at the mine.

“We have local management from the mine meeting with those involved and we even participated in an open community meeting last night where approximately 60 people attended. Similar to the afternoon discussions, most items centred on employment and training opportunities.”

While the mine has been able to continue operating, the blockade has prevented new supplies from being brought to the mine. These supplies include fuel, oil, tires and other mechanical equipment. Ormsby said there could be an effect on the mine’s operations if the supplies continue to be held up.

“We will certainly have to consider potential impacts on our operations and our contract partners should the re-supply program not be completed as planned.”

As of Wednesday, there was no word on when the blockade may be lifted.

“This total winter road program creates hundreds of local jobs each year so its success is important to us and our partners who provide the drivers, vehicles, winter road construction and maintenance, fuel and other support services,” said Ormsby,

“We are all hopeful a resolution will be found swiftly so we can resume our program as soon as possible.

“Crews are rested and on stand-by waiting to go as soon as they get the word, which we hope will be in time to successfully complete the program.”

For the original of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: