De Beers seeks First Nation exploration support – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – November 18, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

A De Beers Canada team from is visiting Ontario’s remote Weenusk First Nation, seeking community support to conduct diamond exploration work.

An exploration team from De Beers Canada was expected to be in northern Ontario’s remote Weenusk First Nation on Tuesday, to seek community support to conduct diamond exploration work.

Weenusk First Nation, or Peawanuck, is a small community of nearly 400 people, 1,400 km north of Toronto, on the shores of the Winisk River.

The Cree community is divided on whether or not they support mining in their ecologically sensitive and undisturbed traditional lands. The people of Peawanuck have only one store and the local school goes to Grade 8. Many live off the land, fishing and hunting caribou. They are concerned about the consequences of mining development.

De Beers is one of the world’s largest diamond mine companies, operating with its partners in 20 countries across five continents. Each year, the company pulls 600,000 carats of diamonds out of the Victor Diamond Mine, 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat First Nation.

But the Victor Mine nears the end of its life span in four years.

De Beers is now looking for fresh sources for diamonds. Northern Ontario is believed to be rife with many precious resources that have been difficult to mine for a number of reasons – including ecological sensitivity of the land, remoteness and the need for First Nations agreement.

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