Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine get top nods for 2015 TSM Excellence Awards

by Keith Powell
dominion diamond mine

Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine Inc. were jointly awarded the 2015 TSM Environmental Excellence Award. — Photo courtesy Dominion Diamond Corp.

For their innovative projects that raise the bar for corporate responsibility in the Canadian mining sector, Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine Inc. were recognized with the 2015 Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Awards at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Awards Gala in Montreal.

Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine Inc. were jointly awarded the 2015 TSM Environmental Excellence Award for their Joint Regional Grizzly Bear DNA Program in the Northwest Territories.

"Out of seven impressive finalists for this year's awards, these two projects shone for going beyond what was expected, for engaging extensively with community stakeholders and incorporating traditional knowledge, and for creating significant benefits for the communities where they operate," said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, the Mining Association of Canada. "With the TSM Awards, we congratulate and recognize, Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine Inc. for being positive catalysts of change in their communities."

TSM Environmental Excellence Award 2015 Winner: Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mine Inc.

When regulators, monitoring agencies and community stakeholders asked for a grizzly bear monitoring program, the Ekati Diamond Mine (operated by Dominion Diamond Corporation) and the Diavik Diamond Mine (operated by Rio Tinto) responded by developing a new program that went over and above their environmental monitoring requirements. The Joint Regional Grizzly Bear DNA Program was designed to assess bear population trends and to determine if mining-related activity influenced the relative abundance and distribution of grizzly bears over time.

Following a successful pilot study, the program began its initial two-year phase in 2012 and the gathering of baseline population data was completed in 2013. The study area covered 16,000 km2 of the Central Barrens encompassing the two mine properties. The area was split into a 12x12 km grid with one post located in each grid square, for a total of 112 posts. Traditional knowledge was sought by community elders and land users for the posts' development and placement. The posts were constructed with mechanisms to bait the bears, which would result in hair samples being left behind that were then collected for DNA analysis. A total of 1,902 hair samples were collected in 2012, and 112 grizzly bear individuals were identified. In 2013, this number rose to 4,709 samples and 136 grizzly bear individuals were identified, 39 of which had no previous detections. The results suggest a detection frequency of 9 to 11 bears/1,000 km2, above estimates from the 1990s where the frequency was 3.5 bears/1000 km2, indicating a stable or increasing bear population in the region.

This project, the largest grizzly bear DNA program in the Northwest Territories, was the first major collaboration between diamond mines in the region. Recently, De Beers' Snap Lake mine and Gahcho Kué project have come on board, doubling the initial study area to over 30,000 km2. Based on its success, the Government of Nunavut has also deployed similar programs at Back River, Hackett River, Courageous Lake, Izok, Hope Bay, and in the Eastern Arctic.

"Dominion Diamond takes our responsibility to the environment, wildlife, and the surrounding communities seriously, and it is gratifying to be recognized for those efforts at a national level," said Brendan Bell, Dominion Diamond Corporation's Acting Chief Executive Officer.

"This program is a great example of how collaboration adds significant value and benefits everyone. Collaborating with our partner, Dominion Diamond, allowed the program scope and area to be increased significantly. Collaborating with our community partners allowed us to incorporate Traditional Knowledge ensuring the program's success," Marc Cameron, President and COO, Diavik Diamonds (2012) Inc.

About MAC
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada's production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit

SOURCE: Mining Association of Canada (MAC)

Related articles

Large piece of machinery with person standing in bucket.
Mining Insider, Exploration, Mines, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon $500,000 federal funding to help promote northern mining at annual conference

The Yukon Mining Alliance will use the funding to help showcase the opportunities in the North at the annual PDAC Conference in Toronto

by Julie Matchett
Geoscience representative discussing info at open house with a man.
Mining Insider, Exploration, Minerals, Mines, British Columbia Geoscience BC targets ‘hidden’ Central Interior copper-gold deposits

The Central Interior Copper-Gold Research series aims to better understand potential deposits, attract investment and encourage exploration

by Julie Matchett
Close-up picture of PDAC Award, showing two stylized white hands holding up a transparent diamond shape printed with PDAC logo.
Mining Insider, Exploration, First Nations, Minerals, Mines, Global PDAC 2020 awards honour industry leaders

The 2020 PDAC Award recipients have been announced, celebrating outstanding achievement in the Canadian and international mining industry

by Julie Matchett
View all Mining Insider articles