The community of Attawapiskat on the western James Bay coast announced the signing of an Impact Benefit Agreement with De Beers Canada for Ontario’s first diamond mine November 4.

The signing of this agreement follows the community ratification of the agreement in June and recent approval of the federal and provincial environmental assessments. De Beers will start construction of the $982 million mine early in 2006.

The agreement sets out how the community will benefit with respect to employment and business opportunities, training and education, sound environmental management and financial compensation for loss of the use of the land while it is being mined.

The Victor Project will be the first diamond mine in Ontario and De Beers’ second mine in Canada. It will take three years to construct and is scheduled to begin production at the end of 2008. Victor will produce approximately 6 million carats during the life of the mine and will employ about 600 people during construction and 400 during production.

Ten days later a similar announcement was made. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation and De Beers Canada also announced the signing of an Impact Benefit Agreement for the Snap Lake Project. The mine is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2007, with full production in 2008.