ATTAWAPISKAT – The blockade of the road into De Beers Victor Mine has ended. Tom Ormsby, the Director of External & Corporate Affairs reports that, “At approximately 7pm this evening (Thursday, February 7th), the annual re-supply program to our De Beers Victor Mine resumed and the first convoy safely reached site shortly after 9pm”.
Blockade on De Beers Victor Mine winter road over
“The resolution to the blockade just outside Attawapiskat First Nation was mainly focused in two areas; employment & training and maximizing the benefits available in the Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA). Discussions took place on an individual as well as a collective level with the community,” adds Ormsby.
“Discussions regarding the IBA focused on the joint Renewed Relationship Work Group that was formed last July with Attawapiskat First Nation to work through the various chapters in the IBA and maximize the benefits for both sides. New or similar issues brought up this week for discussion during the blockade will now be incorporated into the items being reviewed by the Work Group”.
The annual winter road program is the main method of bulk re-supply to the mine and is designed to replenish the existing supplies being used at the mine. “Our program provides the annual predictable non-perishable supplies for the mine such as lube & oil, camp supplies, spare parts, tires, new equipment, fuel, etc,” shared Ormsby.
Local community businesses are contracted by De Beers to build and maintain the winter road as well as deliver the fuel and freight. Those contracts are worth millions of dollars to local businesses and create hundreds of direct and indirect positions in the local communities each winter.
De Beers states, “We carry out charter flights year round to the mine to transport our employees, replenish perishable items such as food and to bring in emergency spare parts. We save the bulk of the re-supply for the winter road in order to transport items we cannot fly, efficiently manage costs and ensure economic viability of the operation”.
“Our focus this evening will be on the safe off-loading of today’s convoy and the rapid reorganization of the remainder of our program,” concluded Ormsby.