Minister Alfred Moses delivered remarks on behalf of Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann at the GNWT and NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines co-sponsored Diamond Gala — a wind-up event for the 2016 Yellowknife Geoscience Forum
The remarks focused on the billions in economic benefit, millions in community investment, and thousands of high-paying jobs NWT diamond mines have provided the territory and its people.
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Good evening everyone.
It’s a pleasure to be here tonight. I’m glad to see some familiar faces in the crowd.
In follow up to the well-deserved praise tonight for the pioneers who came North and discovered diamonds, I would like to spend some time talking about the mines that continue to arise from these discoveries, and the contributions of their operators to economics, innovation and social wellbeing in our territory.
Let’s start with economics.
The mines have brought billions in economic activity to the Northwest Territories. This activity has contributed millions in revenue for our government to invest in the socio-economic well-being of our citizens, and offered new prospects for independent business in our communities.
But perhaps most of all, it has provided our people with jobs. This is something I can speak to personally.
As some of you may know, before I joined public life, I worked for Diavik Diamond Mine as a Health and Wellness Officer. I had the opportunity to apply the skills I gained from my education, and develop them further, in a dynamic, well-paying job.
There are thousands just like me. Thousands who have operated machines, pored over engineering plans, and provided hospitality services to Diavik, Snap Lake, Ekati, and now Gahcho Kué. Even more have benefitted from jobs in logistics, construction, and mine services.
We also recognize and appreciate the importance De Beers, Mountain Province, Rio Tinto, and Dominion have chosen to place on our communities.
They have provided support to initiatives like the Mine Training Society, Aurora College’s Northern Leadership Program, sponsorship, scholarships, community grants, and youth sports. We’re proud to work with them on these kinds of programs in the spirit of partnership outlined in the Skills4Success action plan to further career development and well-being for our citizens.
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the innovations led by these operators which have pushed us to the cutting-edge of the global mining industry.
The Northern environment is challenging for any operator. Our operators found ways around the challenges of logistics, water management, and energy generation issues with world-leading engineering.
Ekati has instituted cutting-edge worker safety technology in their bid to combat driver fatigue for operators at the mine. The camera-based system monitors drivers for fatigue cues, measures the pupil/eye/head movement, and provides audio warnings and seat stimulation when necessary to avoid injury.
Snap Lake was Canada’s first fully-underground mining operation, and contended with a complicated water management situation with the ingenuity we now accept as the norm in our diamond industry.
Diavik has won international engineering awards for their dike design for their upcoming A21 project. They’ve led environmental stewardship through their wind power generation program.
And all the mines have worked together on engineering, building, and maintaining the ice roads which not only re-supply the mines, but offer opportunities for others to travel to other parts of our territory as safely as possible.
Despite some of the challenges these companies face due to a downturn in the resource industry, it is clear our diamond mines are firmly committed to doing their part in contributing to a strong economy and healthy communities.
Through its Mineral Development Strategy, the Government of the Northwest Territories is also working to support resource development and mining in our territory; particularly during this transition in the cyclical commodity market.
I would like to conclude my time this evening by offering thanks on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the citizens we serve for all the contributions our diamond mines have brought to us over these 25 years of diamonds. It is your dedication, ingenuity, and investment which have built today’s Northwest Territories economy.
You can count on us to continue working in partnership with industry to advance responsible resource development in the NWT. Time and time again we’ve proven that when we work together, we can do great things.