What are EMAB’s Environmental Priorities?
Diavik mine is located on an island in Lac de Gras. Many of the mine’s activities involve taking water from and releasing water to Lac de Gras. Diavik has a water licence that makes sure these activities are done in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. The water licence requires that Diavik conduct an Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program (AEMP). The main purpose of the AEMP is to determine the short and long-term effects the mine has on the aquatic environment and to try and reduce or eliminate these effects.
As part of this program Diavik submits an AEMP Report to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB) every year, and a comprehensive analyses report every three years. EMAB reviews these reports and provides comments and recommendations to the WLWB to try and improve the data quality and analyses.
Wildlife found around Diavik include: barren-ground caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine raptors and waterfowl as well as many other small mammals and birds. Diavik has a Wildlife Monitoring Program that studies wildlife responses to mine activity. The Wildlife Monitoring Program at Diavik is a requirement in the Environmental Agreement. Every year Diavik releases a Wildlife Monitoring Program Report. EMAB reviews these Reports and provides comments and recommendations to Diavik.
Bathurst caribou are a type of barren-ground caribou in the NWT. Bathurst caribou migrate through the Lac de Gras area to their calving grounds at Bathurst Inlet. Diavik monitors Bathurst caribou because of their cultural, ecological and economic value to northern residents, as well as their biological vulnerability.
Diavik began the Environmental Air Quality Monitoring Program (EAQMP) in 2012 to monitor Total Suspended Particulates (TSP), and to determine the effect of dust deposition on wildlife and aquatics. This program is a requirement of the Environmental Agreement, and EMAB is pleased that Diavik now monitors TSP, along with existing programs including the: dustfall collection system, annual snow core sampling program, and Green House Gas emission calculations from all onsite sources.
Diamond mining produces large amounts of waste and causes physical disturbances to the landscape such as, roads, gravel pits, concrete pads, and processed kimberlite containment facilities. Diavik expects to end commercial operations in 2023 at which time it will begin post-closure activities to clean up the site. Until that time, Diavik is progressively reclaiming the site, meaning they are doing what is possible to reduce overall reclamation costs and increase environmental protection until the mine officially stops operating. Closure and reclamation refers to the process that Diavik will follow to reclaim the land as close to its original state as possible.
Diavik is required to provide an Interim Closure and Reclamation Plan Progress Report to the WLWB every year. The purpose of the Progress Report is to keep all parties informed about closure planning at the mine site and to make sure Diavik remains on schedule.
The use of Traditional Knowledge / Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (TK/IQ) in environmental management and monitoring at Diavik has been an ongoing point of discussion between EMAB and Diavik. Meaningful involvement of Aboriginal people in environmental monitoring program design and inclusion of TK/IQ continue to be EMAB priorities. EMAB has tried various ways to encourage Diavik to take action on this Environmental Agreement commitment.
In 2011 EMAB became more actively involved in bringing TK/IQ holders together as a TK Panel, to address issues such as caribou and closure planning. In 2013 Diavik began to take a greater role in facilitating the TK Panel, with EMAB assessing the results of the work and Diavik’s response.
EMAB is pleased to see that Diavik has made efforts to include TK/IQ inclosure planning through the Panel. The Panel’s recommendations, and Diavik’s responses are included as part of Diavik’s closure planning reports and can be found here.