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Diamonds Do Good

How one Canadian corporation is working to protect wildlife and culture in the diamond mining industry.

What are the most famous, most rare, and most sought-after stones in the world? If you guessed diamonds, you’re correct! Culturally they symbolize love and prosperity, and because diamonds are the hardest mineable substance, they also symbolize endurance and perseverance. The rarity of diamonds, born in the earth’s crust billions of years ago, adds to their unique and symbolic meaning, something we’ve all came to adore.

With that said, ethical diamond mining is important, and sometimes disregarded by consumers. We as a society often overlook the impact of diamond mining on local communities and the wildlife surrounding them. In my blog post today I’m going to share with you an example of how Dominion Diamond Corporation works in partnership with Aboriginal communities, to protect Sub-Arctic wildlife and the culture surrounding it in the Northwest Territories.

Located just 200 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, the land around the Ekati Diamond Mine is strewn with boulder fields, tundra, wetlands and over 8,000 glistening lakes. These are the traditional lands of Aboriginal people who have lived in the area for centuries. These people possess a great deal of knowledge about the land, and by working closely with those native to the area, Dominion Diamonds, the corporation behind the CanadaMark brand has seen tremendous success.

“We engage with the communities to learn from their Traditional Knowledge of the land and wildlife. We recognize that Traditional Knowledge holders and Elders have a lot to teach us. For example, we recognize the significance of caribou to the culture, traditional land use, and economies of the local communities,” says Brendan Bell, CEO.

Dominion Diamonds also works on community outreach projects supported by the corporation to make it easier for the communities to preserve their Traditional Knowledge for future generations. An interactive approach is taken whereby Elders and youth from the community are invited to participate in excursions to exchange information and prioritize Aboriginal stakeholders. There are also interactive youth programs aimed at increasing cultural awareness through mediums such as art.

Another important aspect of the mining industry in Canada is the protection of wildlife. For example, Dominion Diamond tracks local animals such as caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, foxes, and nesting birds that surround the diamond mines to ensure their continued well-being. The results from this tracking have concluded for example, that the bear population is not only stable but in some places growing. The project was even awarded with the 2015 Environmental Excellence Award for the success of the project.

Overall, the mining industry has brought a great deal of economic opportunity and jobs to the region, while partnerships with Aboriginal people and a commitment to conserving pristine flora and fauna have continued to be a top priority.

To learn more please visit the official website

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