The downfall of Dominion Diamond – by Alex Brockman (CBC News – June 10, 2020)

How the COVID-19 pandemic pushed one of the North’s largest employers to the brink of financial collapse

A light breeze from Great Slave Lake adds a last bite of winter to the warm spring air as Chief Ernest Betsina walks through Ndilo, a Yellowknives Dene community down the road from Yellowknife.

After a few minutes, he stops at a high spot. The entire community stretches before him. He can see the abandoned Giant gold mine site across the bay. It’s a festering wound, the worst-case scenario when a mine company goes under.

Today, another mining company, Dominion Diamond, is fighting off its own financial ruin. Its cash reserves collapsed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it with $1.2 billion US worth of debt it has no way to pay off unless it restructures itself through the courts.

The case has prompted serious fears about the future of one of the North’s key employers, while pulling back the curtain on the international diamond trade.

“The Yellowknives Dene, we are the original miners of the North,” Betsina said. “Our people are called Tetsǫ́t’ıné, which means metal, or copper people. Our people are very resilient.” The entire territory could use that resilience now.

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