Metis on board
Diavik, Metis sign benefit deal

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 29/00) - Clem Paul, president of the North Slave Metis Alliance, says he's pleased with the impact benefit agreement signed Friday by the alliance and Diavik Diamond Mines.

"We're not asking one mining company to correct all the wrongs done to the Metis. They (Diavik) are new here," Paul said.

"We're asking the company to make a commitment to community wellness," he adds.

"What's good for Metis is good for the NWT."

The deal -- Diavik describes it as a participation agreement -- is the first of five the company expects to complete with aboriginal groups. Other agreements will involve the Dogrib Treaty 11, Yellowknives Dene, Lutsel K'e Dene and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

The agreements include money, training, and employment and business opportunities for the aboriginal groups.

The document, available for Alliance members to see, will remain confidential for 90 days.

Key parts of the agreement however, like how much money is involved, will not be made public.

Paul said several groups, the Alliance, Diavik, and government, will be at the table when it comes to training.

Paul said this agreement will help the Metis monitor the success of training programs.

Metis will be involved first-hand with monitoring the project, he adds.

Under the agreement:

- Diavik has commitments to provide employment and business opportunities to alliance members. As part of the employment and training objectives, the alliance will maintain and make available to Diavik human resource directories and business registries.

- There will be a joint implementation committee set up to outline responsibilities, tasks and timelines for reaching project-related employment and business development targets. The alliance will hire a community representative to liaise with Diavik on targets and social development issues.

- The alliance affirms its support for the Diavik project and agrees to ratify the Diavik environmental agreement and the socio-economic monitoring agreement.

Diavik spokesperson Tom Hoefer could not be reached Monday afternoon for comment.