New blockade on winter road to mine – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 11, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

ATTAWAPISKAT – Just days after reaching a settlement to end a blockade on the ice road in Attawapiskat, officials with De Beers Canada were contending with yet another small group of protesters who were blocking the way to the Victor diamond mine.

“We’ve got guys on the ground” who were meeting with the demonstrators, Tom Ormbsy, director of external and corporate affairs, told The Daily Press late Monday night.

The “core individuals” behind in the latest blockade were not among those involved in last week’s four-day demonstration, Ormsby said. According to information Ormsby received, the core participants were “two or three individuals who were possibly joined on the picket line by some family members.”

As was the case last week, Monday night’s blockade was preventing supplies from reaching the mine but not posing any interruption in its operation. The Victor mine had had to contend with demonstrations and blockades on the winter ice road from time over its five years of operation.

Ormsby said typically the demonstrators have very specific personal demands and their actions are generally not supported by the community at large.

“We have never seen an action that has been a community-supported action. Our experience has always been these have been individuals who brought these forward over the years and it’s usually about a very specific concern they have as individuals.

“Some are looking for employment for the first time, some are looking to be re-employed, maybe they were there previously. It’s not always about someone who has been dismissed. It may have been someone who worked in construction and wants to try get on in the operations.”

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