EMAB holds workshops that bring together community members, regulators, experts and others to reach a better understanding of Diavik-related environmental issues.
EMAB hosted a Closure Workshop in Yellowknife on February 14-16, 2017. The Final Report will be posted soon!
EMAB Workshop with Community Elders (Yellowknife, 2015)
EMAB held a workshop with Community Elders at the Tree of Peace in Yellowknife. Participants were invited from each of the EMAB Parties to the Environmental Agreement. Diavik also came and addressed questions about operational activities, closure plans and current activities. EMAB staff presented five year summaries of results from Diavik's Air Quality Monitoring Program, Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program, and Wildlife Monitoring Program. Participants made recommendations based on the information they received. These recommendations were directed at Parties to the Environmental Agreement, specifically Diavik and the GNWT.
EMAB followed up with participants' recommendations by sending the Workshop Report to Diavik and the GNWT.
Traditional Knowledge in Monitoring Workshop (Kugluktuk, 2009)
EMAB has been following up recommendations from communities that Diavik do more to meet its commitments to use TK/IQ in its monitoring. We decided to develop a proposal for TK monitoring with the help of Allice Legat from the Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, and have been working on this since last August. The study we’re proposing involves elders and harvesters working with local, trained researchers to monitor caribou and fish at camps around Lac de Gras. We held a workshop on the proposal with community participants in March in Kugluktuk. They made a number of decisions:
- Each Aboriginal Party would have its own camp to avoid language issues and to keep the size manageable.
- There would be at least two camps that would be held at different times of year while caribou migrate through the area.
- Each Aboriginal Party would set up a steering committee of elders and harvesters to manage the project.
- Researchers would be youth with good language skills chosen by elders. They would be trained in research techniques.
- The camps would be around Lac de Gras but not close to the mines: head of Coppermine river, mainland south and northeast of Diavik and by Yamba lake and Point lake.
The participants agreed to take the revised proposal back to their Aboriginal Party to find out whether they supported it and were ready to move forward.
Closure Workshop (Yellowknife, 2009)
In 2006 Diavik submitted an Interim Closure and Reclamation Plan (ICRP). The Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board directed the company to draft a new plan. In order to help prepare the Aboriginal Parties to review the new version EMAB held a workshop in January.
This workshop introduced participants to:
- principals of mine closure and reclamation
- definitions of closure objective and closure criteria
Community participants had the opportunity talk about concerns and share initial ideas on what they would like to see happen when Diavik closes. Participants also discussed how communities could best be involved in the review of Diavik’s ICRP.
The workshop was coordinated with a visit to the Diavik mine site so participants could view the various mine components.
Adaptive Management Workshop (Yellowknife, 2008)
The Adaptive Management Plan (AdMP) is a way to recognize and act on a negative change in Lac de Gras as determined by the Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program. We had the opportunity to conduct a technical review of Diavik’s draft plan but we also wanted communities to have the opportunity to have input. The two-day workshop in May allowed community participants to:
- review concepts of adaptive management
- go over the results of our technical review with our reviewer
- comment on the plan and raise any concerns they have related to adaptive management
EMAB also invited other reviewers to share their analysis at the workshop.
The WLWB decided to develop guidelines for mines to develop AdMps. Once those are completed, Diavik will be required to prepare a new plan.
Aboriginal Involvement in Monitoring (Behchoko, 2007)
In order to fulfill our mandate related to Aboriginal involvement, we decided to conduct research with people representing the five ABoriginal Parties to the EA. We hire a facilitator to conduct the research, write a discussion paper, and hold a two-day workshop with representation from the five Aboriginal Parties.
The goal of the research and workshop was to get input from the Aboriginal Parties on:
- the adequacy of the current levels of Aboriginal involvement, including Traditional Knowledge and Inuit Quajimajatuqangit in the environmental monitoring programs at Diavik
- ways to improve Aboriginal involvement in the design of Diavik's environmental monitoring programs
- ways to improve Aboriginal involvement in the implementation of Diavik's monitoring programs, including training and employment
- ways to improve the communication of information from Diavik about environmental monitoring
Many recommendations came out of this workshop, and we have sent them to the appropriate parties.
Water Licence Renewal Workshop (Behchoko, 2005)
Diavik's water licence expires in the summer of 2007. In August 2005, the company applied to renew the licence without changes for a 15-year period.
EMAB held a workshop in Behchoko involving participants from all five Aboriginal Parties. Experts, hired by EMAB, reviewed several areas of concern:
- Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program
- Interim Abandonment and Restoration
- Air Quality Monitoring
The group agreed that EMAB would submit initial comments to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board based on the experts' reviews. EMAB later decided that they would intervene and participate in the renewal process.
Fencing Workshop (2004)
Fencing at the Diavik mine site is noted in the Comprehensive Study Report. Diavik committed to fencing key areas of the mine site if it proved necessary to protect wildlife, especially caribou.
Over a period of two years, EMAB worked with elders to arrive at a consensus about whether fencing was necessary and, if yes, where it should go and what type of fencing it should be. Diavik's environmental staff worked closely with the elders to explain how caribou moved around the mine. EMAB also enlisted the help of a government caribou expert and a fencing expert so that we could be as thorough as possible.
As a result of recommendation that came from the workshop Diavik installed temporary fencing in July 2006 at a key location near the Processed Kimberlite Containment Facility.
Water Quality Workshop (Kugluktuk, 2003)
The purpose of the workshop was to enhance EMAB's understanding of Diavik's water quality monitoring activities for the diamond mine on Lac de Gras.
The workshop objective was to provide the Board members and other participants with a basic understanding of the following topics:
- Community concerns / observations of water quality effects from diamond mines, Diavik in particular
- Overview of general water quality and monitoring concepts
- The regulatory perspective water quality monitoring and diamond mines
- Diamond mining and water quality effects
- Coppermine River monitoring
- Diavik's approach to water quality management
- Diavik's water quality monitoring program and results
- Identification of next steps with respect to EMAB's water quality interests
Presentations addressed each of these topics, and there were many opportunities for questions and discussions throughout the workshop. Representatives from Diavik and DIAND, as well as EMAB's own water quality expert, made the workshop presentations and participated in the discussions along with Board members to provide their perspectives.
As a result of the workshop, the Board has been better able to fulfill its roles and responsibilities under the Environmental Agreement, specifically with respect to reviewing the water quality monitoring information provided by Diavik, and providing informed comments for consideration by the company and regulators.
Traditional Knowledge Workshop (Yellowknife 2003)
This workshop was co-hosted with the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency (IEMA) for the Ekati mine. Members of both boards, community and industry representatives, as well as elders participated.
- How to incorporate TK in community-based monitoring programs
- Highlighting TK and Aboriginal involvement requirements of the EAs
- How to strengthen relationships
- How to move forward with incorporating TK environmental monitoring, with increasing Aboriginal participation and with accessing and gathering TK
Workshop participants came up with the key recommendation that a Regional Traditional Knowledge Panel be formed. This is beyond the scope of EMAB's mandate, however we drafted the Terms of Reference for a Traditional Knowledge panel that could be used for Diavik-related environmental issues.
Fish and Fish Habitat Monitoring Technical Workshop (Yellowknife, 2002)
Participants included EMAB members, regulators, community members as well as EMAB’s own expert. The objectives of this workshop were:
- To review and discuss the state of knowledge about the fish in Lac de Gras and the Diavik mine area as it relates to other projects in the area, the Diavik Comprehensive Study Report, the Environmental Agreement and regulatory licensing of the mine.
- To review and discuss the requirements of the water license and fisheries authorization including the management and monitoring plans, the habitat compensation strategy, fish salvage reports, the Slimy Sculpin Baseline Metals Study, and the Lake Trout Habitat Utilization Study;
- To discuss upcoming submissions on fish palatability;
- To recommend, as required, changes to the monitoring strategy to reflect revised impact predictions and to strengthen aboriginal community involvement in the full range of monitoring activities.