Cree leaders negotiated to have guaranteed jobs, contracts and a share of the royalties from the Renard mine
Quebec’s first diamond mine — the $774-million, Stornoway Diamond Corp.’s Renard mine — sits on Cree territory, about 800 kilometres from Montreal in northern Quebec.
In operation since January 2017, the mine would not have happened without a unique agreement reached between the company and the Cree, who are guaranteed jobs, contracts and a share of the royalties, once the mine is profitable.
For more than a year now, the mine has been producing diamonds, some of which are sold at Montreal’s Birks jewellery store. They bear a fleur-de-lis inscribed by a laser, and come with a certificate that says they’re officially, “Diamants du Québec.”
When it reaches its planned output of 1.6 million carats a year, the mine will account for one per cent of the global, rough diamond supply by value, making it the world’s sixth-largest diamond producer, the company says.
But beyond its economic potential, the mine is an example of how some Indigenous communities have successfully negotiated to have a say in projects being developed on their territory.
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