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Welcome to our 2009 Socio-Economic Annual Report. This provides an update regarding our
contribution to the cultural, social and economic well being of the Northwest Territories. This
report is complimented by De Beers Canada’s second annual Report to Society.
The diamond industry, like so many industries in 2009, faced a global recession. For our
company, this was one of the most difficult years we had faced in the 120+ years we have been
in operations globally. The impact of the recession meant tough decisions had to be made at
Snap Lake to face these economic challenges head on, and to position our mine for long term
Although we downsized, and cut capital and operation expenditures in 2009, we remained
committed to sustainable development. Apprenticeships and training continued and we have
now exceeded our commitments. Our efforts to support literacy remained strong. We know low
literacy is one of the biggest challenges we face in developing a skilled northern workforce.
Most importantly, we worked safely, ensuring the distractions of a weak economy did not affect
the ability of every worker to finish a shift without injury and go home safely to his or her family.
Many of our decisions impacted our employees, our contractors and our suppliers and they
stayed the course with us. I thank them for their understanding and contribution to our success
As we finalize this report, world diamond sales are coming back, allowing us to carefully ramp
up to full production over the next two years. In December 2009, we announced hiring of 175
additional workers in 2010. We put more capital spending on the books for 2010 with the
construction of important environmental infrastructure on surface and the new permanent
accommodations for our employees. While the world economy remains on a very precarious
balance, and we are watching it carefully, we believe that our experience from 2009 and our
commitment to careful growth have put Snap Lake Mine in the right place.
As I reflect on the year, one thing rings loud and clear. Our employees are a resilient, dedicated,
hardworking team of ordinary people and they have done the most extraordinary things in
2009. I am proud of their accomplishments and know you will enjoy reading about them.
Snap Lake Mine General Manager
Senior Community liaison coordinator
Sabet Biscaye leads a cross-cultural
Building bridges of understanding
Where can you learn to make your own dream catcher, Her course was one of the most popular of the year, as
duffle mittens or fish scale art? At De Beers Canada’s Snap participants were able to create something of their own to
Lake Mine, just head to the Cultural Centre. give as Christmas gifts.
De Beers understands that Aboriginal arts and culture are “What was most fun for me was getting to know the
a rich tradition and deserve to be preserved. That’s why we workers who would come in for the lessons. There are
built the Cultural Centre, a unique way of showing respect a lot of interesting people from all sorts of different
and appreciation for the people, customs and lifestyles in backgrounds. We would all spend time getting to know
the north. each other and learning from each other,” she says. “We
learned about each other’s cultures and traditions. We had
De Beers regularly invites northern Aboriginal artisans to
a lot of laughs, shared stories and even learned a few words
the Snap Lake Mine to share their traditions and culture.
in new languages.”
Employees and artists have embraced the concept, with
In order to convey a sense of warmth and hospitality,
each course being offered attracting between 70-100
the Centre itself is set up like a traditional home, and can
participants. What makes it all so worthwhile is that they
fit between 20-30 people at a time. It features a large
aren’t just learning how to make mittens or a dream
collection of arts and crafts on display and resource
catcher. Aboriginal employees are able to stay connected
material related to the north’s Aboriginal people.
to their culture, while non-Aboriginals get a chance to learn
about where they work and the people who have lived in
the north for centuries. More importantly, it’s about learning
and sharing with each other. It allows the employees to not
only discover what makes them different from each other,
but just how much they all have in common.
Eva Beaverho was at Snap Lake just before Christmas 2009
to teach mine employees how to make duffle mittens.
“It was a very exciting opportunity for me,” says Beaverho,
who grew up in Whati, but now lives in Yellowknife.
“It’s always fun to go to a new place and teach people
something you love to do. They all caught on pretty quickly.
You wouldn’t think mine workers would be all that happy
to be cutting fabric and sewing, but they were.”
Eva Beaverho demonstrates
braiding techniques at the cultural centre.
2 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Aboriginal northerners cherish their long-held traditions
and cultures. And De Beers does, too.
That’s why we are committed to not only providing job
opportunities but also to promoting the social and cultural
well-being of First Nations and others living in communities
close to our Snap Lake Mine.
Our support for cultural traditions includes sponsoring
and attending annual assemblies for Tlicho and Akaitcho
First Nations, bringing First Nations elders and leaders to
the Snap Lake Mine, and supporting community events. All
employees are required to take a Cross Cultural Awareness
course and are encouraged to participate in events at the
Mine’s Cultural Centre.
“With De Beers’ support, we have been able to develop and
deliver many programs and services for the Tlicho region,” In 2008 and 2009 managers from
says Tony Rabesca, Culture, Language and Communications
Director at the Tlicho Government.
Snap Lake Mine participated in the
As a part of the Tlicho Youth Conference in August 2009,
Trails of Our Ancestors Canoe Journey.
De Beers provided educational materials regarding healthy
life choices, addiction awareness, Tlicho spiritual healing
and the importance of developing support networks.
“That gives youth the tools they need to make positive
choices in their lives. It gives them something to work for,”
For the past two years, Snap Lake Mine management “The hand games tournaments are a blast. They are such
employees have had the opportunity to take part in the a great way to celebrate Aboriginal history, and they really
multi-day Trails of Our Ancestors Canoe Journey that ends showcase our culture and how people can come together
in Whati and coincides with the Tlicho annual gathering. from afar in a spirit of respect while having fun with each
other,” says Mackenzie.
“It’s a lot of hard work, very challenging and it’s such a
worthwhile event,” says Grace Mackenzie, Community De Beers supports Métis traditions, sponsoring the North
Liaison Coordinator De Beers. “We hope to have more Slave Métis Alliance’s annual Aboriginal Day Fish Fry.
employees participate in the future.”
Because 2009 marked Yellowknife’s 75th anniversary, the
Tlicho elders lead the journey and teach the participants event drew a large crowd. Along with grilled whitefish,
– many of which are Tlicho youth about trapping, hunting bannock and corn on the cob, participants were treated to
and fishing. They also share stories and traditional Tlicho fiddling, reeling and jigging.
customs and beliefs.
“De Beers has gone above and beyond the call of duty in
“The elders are so knowledgeable and willing to teach. regards to community support,” says Bill Enge, President
What is most impressive are the youth. They are all eager to of the North Slave Métis Alliance. “The fish fry is a great
learn and work hard,” says Mackenzie. example. Thanks largely to the help of De Beers, this year
was our most successful yet.”
For De Beers, it’s a chance to gain a deeper appreciation
of the culture, which leads to closer connection to our “We value these proud cultures and traditions, which is
Aboriginal employees. why we try to help strengthen and promote them,” says
Another event De Beer sponsors is the men’s and youth’s
hand games tournaments, held in Behchoko in March. In Other examples of support for culture include sponsorship
2009, teams from all over the Tlicho, the Sahtu, the Deh Cho of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre and the
and even Alberta competed. Yellowknives Dene First Nation Youth Cultural Camp.
John Rafacz checks a five point safety card.
Training for national recognition
When John Rafacz first started as a miner, he showed up at “The idea was to give people training so they could work
the gate, his employer gave him a hard hat and sent him safely,” says Rafacz.
The program is recognized across Canada, but has never
That was 42 years ago at a different mine, and thankfully, been offered in another jurisdiction before. However,
much has changed. because De Beers has its head office in Toronto and Victor
Mine in Northern Ontario, Snap Lake Mine was granted the
“My dad was a miner. My grandfather was a miner. I learned
opportunity to offer the course on site.
about mining and safety on the job, watching the older
miners. Now, when it comes to safety and training, there’s “We are very fortunate to be able to provide this course
no such thing as taking it too seriously,” says Rafacz, an … because it adds a recognized standard to the value
Underground Training Coordinator at Snap Lake Mine. we place on safety,” says Rafacz. “When new employees
arrive, the orientation portion introduces them to
That’s why, when De Beers was able to complement its on-
the environment, while the training emphasizes the
site safety training with the Ontario Common Core (OCC) in
importance we give to safety here.”
2009 we jumped at the chance. De Beers began certifying
our underground trainers to the OCC standard during the “A student taking the course at an Ontario school would
six-week summer production shutdown. have to pay between $6,000 to $10,000. Not many mines
offer it any more because of the expense, so most miners
“Our programs parallel each other,” says Rafacz. “We already
have to take it upon themselves to get certified. But we give
had a De Beers Hard Rock Common Core training program
it as part of our on-site training,” says Rafacz.
in place that mirrored the OCC. Now, our employees have
nationally recognized certification, and they can take that “We are going to put everyone through this program.
training with them wherever they go.” Once the hiring program is finished, then we will bring on
current employees, provide them with a refresher on safety
The OCC is a provincial safety standard for surface and
training, get them to do the test and get them certified as
underground mining created by the Ontario Ministry of
well,” says Rafacz.
Training, Colleges and Universities in the late 1970s. It
covers all the basics of surface and underground mining, It’s all about giving employees the safest job environment
including workplace inspection, scaling, staging, drilling possible, and giving them safety training they can take with
and blasting, among others. them wherever they go.
When the OCC was established, the Ontario Government
was concerned with the number of mine-related fatalities.
The government established a commission which tried to
find the best way to reduce those fatalities.
In response, Ontario created a common core standard and
implemented it across the province.
4 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Learning Centre leads the way
No company can succeed without a skilled workforce, Thanks to the learning centre, and the support from the
especially in the mining industry. So what do you do when trainers, supervisors, coworkers and his community, Guild
there simply aren’t enough qualified workers available? For is on his way to becoming an apprentice heavy duty
De Beers, the answer lies partly in providing training at the mechanic.
Guild was introduced to mining in 2007, when he took part
“We are in unique situation because we are the third in the mineral processing operator training course offered
mine in the NWT. When we started looking for skilled and through the NWT Mine Training Society and Aurora College.
qualified workers, most were already employed at the
He finished the program and went to work in the mine
other mines. If we wanted to achieve our hiring targets, we
process plant. Following the February 2009 workforce
needed to find unique ways to support training and find
reduction, Guild went to work as a waste management
new ways of providing training,” says Gaeleen MacPherson,
Human Resources Superintendent for the Snap Lake Mine.
But he wanted more, and De Beers saw that commitment
That unique training includes an on site learning centre,
and helped him pursue his goals.
where employees not only take mandatory training,
like safety and orientation, but can also upgrade their “He had never written a trades entrance exam. He worked
education, for example work toward obtaining their closely with Bruce Spencer, Training Coordinator at
General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or study for trades the Snap Lake Mine, who tutored him. He went to the
entrance exams. Through a work release program, we offer learning centre in his community. He is very committed to
employees an hour off work to study in the learning centre advancing his career,” says MacPherson.
for each hour they study on their own time.
For De Beers, getting employees to upgrade their training
The centre is equipped to provide courses such as First or education is a win-win scenario.
Aid, Confined Space Entry and Fall Protection. It can even
“We benefit from having a more capable and loyal
arrange training on how to operate industrial equipment
workforce and the employees gain the confidence and new
like forklifts, zoom booms and bobcats. The centre also
skills that come from having an education. We feel that as
develops new courses as required.
more employees take advantage of these opportunities
Since 2007, staff at the Learning Centre have trained and achieve success, others will follow,” says Spencer.
approximately 1,400 individuals. In 2009, the centre led
5,452 courses totaling 12,135.33 hours of instruction.
De Beers also encourages and helps employees attend
NAIT in Edmonton for a variety of courses, including master
instructor. With Learning Centre staff assistance, other
employees have accessed courses from the Kimberlite
Career and Technical Centre run by Yellowknife Catholic
Schools and Aurora College in Yellowknife.
For Travis Guild, the training offered through De Beers has
allowed him to set his sights on a new career.
In 2009, Snap Lake Mine employees attended 12,135 hours of instruction.
Training and development
When De Beers began mining for diamonds in the NWT, it In addition to providing onsite training, De Beers has
made a commitment that northerners would benefit from established partnerships with agencies to develop the
De Beers’ success. That included providing employment and skilled workforce needed at Snap Lake Mine.
training opportunities for northerners. De Beers committed
This includes working with the NWT Mine Training Society
to create 40 training positions by 2010, including 10 trades
and Aurora College – regularly taking students from
training positions, 10 apprenticeship positions and 20
Underground Mine Training or Mineral Processing Operator
underground miner positions.
Trainee programs into the mine for fully-paid work
De Beers is fulfilling that commitment. placements.
“Our training program aims to address the shortage of The programs are starting to bear fruit. Of the 16 who
tradespeople in the NWT, a gap that is also a skill gap in have so far embarked on the underground miner training,
Canada,” says Kelly Arychuk, Manager Human Resources 10 have progressed to higher levels and are no longer
and administrator at the at Snap Lake Mine. considered trainees or have transferred to other positions
By investing in training, De Beers is filling its need for
employees, but is also developing a northern-skill base that On the apprenticeship side, seven of the eight current
will benefit the NWT long into the future. apprentices are Aboriginal workers, training as millwrights,
heavy equipment mechanics and electricians.
“The trainees build their skills, increase their confidence
and contribute to their community’s economy. But more In fact, one of those apprentices, Wade Bohnet, is expected
importantly, they act as role models for others in their to receive his journeyman electrician ticket in 2010, the first
community. They are an example to others that says ‘if I can De Beers trained apprentice to reach that milestone.
do it, you can too,’” says Arychuk.
(See article, page 7).
De Beers is proud of its apprenticeship program. The
company covers education costs and pays apprentices their
regular salary when they are away from the mine attending
mandatory classroom work. This allows them to focus on
their studies without having to worry about things like how
they will pay their family’s grocery bill.
Training program numbers as of December 2009
Training 2010 trainee Trainees since Graduates
Trades 10 17 3
Apprentice 10 8 0
Underground 20 16 10
Total 40 41 13
Apprentice Adrian Gherghe.
6 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
“De Beers was always very supportive and accommodating…” – Wade Bonnet.
First of many, more to come
There are two things Wade Bohnet found at Snap Lake “De Beers was always supportive and accommodating
Mine – a career path and his fiancée. when it came to my getting my education,” he says.
Meeting his fiancée, Stephanie Smutylo who works in camp Bohnet, who was born in Fort Smith but moved to
maintenance, was mostly a matter of luck. Working toward Yellowknife in Grade 6, first discovered his interest
his journeyman ticket as an electrical apprentice was a in electricity working as a labourer for a company in
matter of hard work and following his dreams. Behchoko.
Bohnet may not be the first to meet his future spouse “To me, there is something very exciting about electricity.”
on the job but sometime during the spring of 2010, he
And working at the mine, whether it’s underground or
is expected to become the first apprentice to earn his
above ground, provides him with different challenges and a
journeyman ticket at the Snap Lake Mine.
variety of opportunities for learning.
His four-year journey began with a Snap Lake contractor
“The work here is never stale,” he says. “When I’m
in 2006. He started his apprenticeship with that contractor,
underground, because the mine keeps getting bigger, more
but wanted something more permanent.
power is constantly required. I’m always hooking up fans
“Getting on with De Beers was great for me,” says Bohnet. and ventilation systems and working on pumps and the
“Contracting work can be very inconsistent. De Beers has underground communications systems. When I’m working
always been steady.” above ground, it’s making sure everything around camp is
running as it should.”
He had already completed his first year of apprenticeship,
but hadn’t been able to take time off for school to take the His schedule – two weeks on, two weeks off – allows him
next step in the apprenticeship process. to spend more time doing what he loves most: spending
time with family, reading, traveling and being outdoors as
“He had a lot of hours built up, and we saw a lot of
much as he can. And when he’s feeling more adventurous,
potential in him, so we brought him on and supported
him throughout his apprenticeship training,” says Gaeleen
MacPherson, Human Resources Superintendent for Snap With the finish line in sight for his apprenticeship, Bohnet
Lake Mine. sees a bright future with endless possibilities for him and
his future wife. “I feel prepared for anything,” he says.
Over the next two-and-a-half years, Wade completed all
the in-school requirements of his apprenticeship, spending
time at NAIT in Edmonton as well as at Aurora College in
Sharon Alanuk’s life changed in 2008 when she walked into the Mine Training Society’s office
in Yellowknife and enrolled in the Underground Miner Training Program.
Women in mining
More opportunities, more time for family
At 4’9” Sharon Alanak might just be the smallest person at
, “But then, on my last day, I was told I was hired at De
the Snap Lake Mine. Beers,” she says. “That was the greatest moment. Not just
because of the job, but because of the congratulatory
But she carries herself like she’s six feet tall. And when
hugs and handshakes from the guys in my class. They were
she’s on the job with Mine Operations, she’s busting rocks,
giving me their approval to be a part of their group, and I’ve
literally. Alanak started as a rock breaker, but in just over
felt part of the team ever since. At De Beers we’re like a big
a year, was promoted to crusher operator – working 263
And for Alanak, that’s the biggest compliment she can give.
“I love it. I’d always wanted to work in the mines, but was
When she’s at home with her family, she misses her work
never able to because I had a young child to care for,” she
family, and when she’s at work, she misses home.
“The best part of my job is being a part of this unique
As her child grew older, Alanak, who grew up in Ulukhaktok
family – we all watch out for one another.”
but now lives in Yellowknife, knew she wanted to give her
child more opportunities, but also more family time. Her story shows that at Snap Lake, women are welcome in
any role, providing they can do the job.
“Working as an office manager five days a week actually
left me with little time for my family. Now, with De Beers, I In 2009, about 60 women representing about 14 per cent
spend half the year with my family,” she says. “And living in of the total mine workforce were employed at Snap Lake
Yellowknife means there are better opportunities to travel Mine, including three in management positions. Of the rest
farther south, and it’s cheaper to live here.” about one-quarter of women were in unskilled positions,
and 66 per cent in semi-skilled or skilled jobs.
Her life changed in 2008 when she walked into the Mine
Training Society’s office in Yellowknife and enrolled in the De Beers also continued to participate in the Women
Underground Miner Training Program. in Mining Oil and Gas research program. Results of the
research will be released in 2010.
“I needed a change of career, and mining offered so many
opportunities,” she says.
Sharon completed her three-month training, knowing the
opportunities were there, but without the assurance of a
job upon completion.
8 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Len Graf Mike Penkala
General Foreman of Site Maintenance Underground Mine Trainer
For about three years, Len has been responsible for all For the past two years, Mike has been training underground
maintenance at Snap Lake Mine – whether it’s the electrical miners at De Beers.
wiring underground or plumbing on the surface.
Mike, who has almost 40 years of mining experience,
What Len finds fascinating at the mine site is the mix of came to De Beers after working with Procon, one of the
people from across the Canada and the north. company’s contractors. “I was looking for more stability,” he
“Working together with different philosophies and cultures
on a daily basis makes it challenging. You get someone For Mike, the best part of his time at work comes from the
from Toronto, who is used to a very rushed, high-speed “aha” moments of training.
environment, working with someone from a small
“We sit down with a trainee, and even an experienced
community, who is more laid back and patient. It’s interesting
miner, and go over SUPA (See, Understand, Plan, Act) for
to see those two contrasting styles come together and learn
pretty much everything. The part I like is once they’ve done
from one another,” he says. “Of course, sometimes I have to
the job and they say, ‘that was awful easy’, like they’d never
coach on the need to slow down or pick up the pace, but I try
thought of doing it that way. You can see it click. You know
to understand each individual from his or her point and view,
they understand and they have gained something valuable
understanding where each is coming from.”
that will stay with them,” he says.
Kevin Stroeder Mike, who’s from Yellowknife, and his fellow underground
mine trainers – John Rafacz and Kevin Oberkirsch – were
Site Service Supervisor recipients of the 2009 De Beers Canada CEO Award for
Safety, Health and Environment. They organized a safety
campaign, “Why we work safely” that daily reminds miners
that they need to work safely so they can go home after
each shift to their families.
For nearly three years, Yellowknife resident Kevin Stroeder
has enjoyed working at the mine. For him, the best part
about his job is the opportunity to be where he enjoys being
the most – outside. He says there’s always something new
to see and learn at De Beers, and he enjoys seeing the new
faces and training new people.
“There’s always something going on,” he says. “I enjoy my
With new and different challenges facing him every day,
Stroeder couldn’t be happier because he not only gets to
work with colleagues, but also his friends.
Marjorie Black Jeff Nystrom
Waste Management Assistant Materials Management Coordinator
Now in her third year at Snap Lake Mine, Marjorie Black When you’re 220 kilometres from the nearest store, let
puts some of her family’s values into work each shift as a alone a steel manufacturer, it’s not always easy to get the
Waste Management Assistant. supplies you need. Throw in a road that’s only open six
weeks of the year, a river that can’t be crossed a couple of
“My grandfather used to tell me that if you keep a messy times a year, and it makes it even more challenging.
house, visitors will judge you by the way you keep your
house,” she says. “Housekeeping is important.” Thank goodness you can get Jeff to do your shopping for
Marjorie started at the mine as a trainee in the process
plant, but transferred to site services. It’s a job she loves Jeff, who joined De Beers at the beginning of 2009,
and one that wins her regular accolades from peers and processes purchasing orders, finds a vendor and works with
supervisors alike. airport and logistics staff to get orders from vendors to the
right place on site.
She and her cross-shift have been instrumental in
organizing the mine’s waste management area, ensuring For Jeff, who lives in Fort Smith, the highlight of 2009
everything’s properly labeled and put in the right place. was getting the new camp modules for permanent
That means recyclables like pop cans can be sent out, waste accommodations up to site. It wasn’t just the work involved
is segregated into the right landfill and used oil is put to in organizing the shipment, or even figuring out where and
use to heat the camp, reducing costs for the mine. how to store them, that was exciting.
“Nothing goes into the waste management area without a “What was really exciting was the buzz that this created.
label,” says Marjorie. “In order to have pride in your job you We’ve been staying in a construction camp, which has its
have to love what you do.” limits in terms of activities. But we’re getting something
more permanent that we can call home while we’re here,”
That love of keeping the mine tidy was honoured in 2009 he says.
as she was one of 11 individuals or work crews nominated
for De Beers Canada’s CEO Award for Safety, Health and The excitement was such that a recreation committee was
Environment. formed to plan new activities and events.
From Behchoko, she’s mother of four, including a daughter “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen once we
who is an apprentice at Snap Lake Mine. In her off time, settle in.”
Marjorie likes to make the most of her time with her family . The camp is scheduled to open in October 2010.
She also enjoys doing beadwork.
10 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Thanks to De Beers, Laurie-Ann Lines can concentrate on her schoolwork.
Scholarship gives Ndilo student peace of mind
Laurie-Ann Lines, who was born and raised in Ndilo, is Lines hopes to give back to her community by returning
studying physiology at the University of Saskatchewan in to work in the field of science. She also wants to encourage
Saskatoon. She was the recipient of a $1,500 scholarship others in her community to pursue a post-secondary
from De Beers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. This education.
allows her to concentrate on school, rather than worry
“I have a lot of support from my community, which is
about how she’s going to pay for it.
encouraging because I’m so far away from home” she,
“I couldn’t imagine doing as well as I have and working at says. “It’s really encouraged me in my studies and I hope
the same time,” says Lines. to continue my education. I don’t just want to stop at a
Post-secondary education can be expensive, and for Lines,
the cost of rent and food are not the only things she A range of scholarships are offered to Yellowknives Dene
worries about. “I use the money for school stuff, like printing First Nation students each year through De Beers Impact
and books. I also bought a miniature filing cabinet to keep Benefit Agreement. Cash awards are available for two
my receipts and bills in order.” students in each of Grade 10, 11 and 12, two awards for
Adult Basic Education/GED students and six scholarships
Since she is required to write many essays and reports, just
for students attending post-secondary education.
the cost of printing paper can become a burden.
As well, De Beers funds five scholarships for North Slave
“I just printed out a 28-page paper and I think I’ve printed
Métis Alliance members attending post-secondary
and photocopied about 1,000 pages this year. That’s not
education. In 2010, De Beers will introduce its scholarship
even including what I’ve printed off on my own printer.” At
program for NWT residents.
10 to 35 cents a page, the cost of handing in homework can
quickly add up.
The 22-year-old says she’s thankful for the community
support she’s been given, along with the scholarship.
“The scholarship is something that has really helped in my
education,” she says.
Keith Wellin with Tli Cho Logistics,
operates a zoom-boom at the Snap Lake Mine.
Snap Lake weathers the storm
Patience, persistence and optimism. That’s what De Beers Contractors, like Tli Cho Landtran, Tli Cho Logistics, Ek’Ati
Canada needed in 2009 as the world was rocked by the Services and Sandvik, and suppliers were affected as well.
“A lot of our suppliers are dependant on us – they have
The Snap Lake Diamond Mine had officially begun positioned themselves to provide service at a certain level
operations in 2008, staff morale was high and a long, bright of activity, but we couldn’t provide that in 2009. There
future was in sight. However, 2009 put that optimism to the was disappointment among our contractors and our
test. employees, but there was a sense of understanding. This
took everyone by surprise. Everyone was affected,” he says.
The first signs of an economic downturn appeared in late
2008, when the U.S. credit and housing market hit bottom. For Tli Cho Landtran, which provides transportation
By early 2009, the whole world was affected. support year round, the downturn meant a considerable
drop in the number of shipments to Snap Lake from
The economy is much like a faucet. When the economy is
good, the tap flows strong; when it’s bad, the flow slows
to a drip. People stop buying goods, and diamonds, a “We had to streamline our operations, lay off some of our
luxury item, are one of the first off the shopping list. Of the employees and run pretty lean for a while. But our company
top three diamond consumers in the world, only China is financially stable and we were able to ride out the rough
increased its diamond consumption. The top consumer, year. We’re a fairly strong company, and besides, we’re in it
the U.S., saw a 49 per cent decrease in sales, while Japan’s for the long haul,” says Ron Near, regional manager for Tli
consumption fell 24%. Cho Landtran.
With slowing demand for diamonds, the Snap Lake Mine There was always confidence and optimism at the mine
was unable to build on the early 2008 momentum. that things would rebound. And they are. As the economy
stabilizes, diamond prices are improving. De Beers expects
As a result, De Beers looked inward, searching for solutions
to return to full production by the end of 2012, and its ramp
that would allow it to protect its investment in Snap Lake,
up is a careful and controlled growth plan.
and build a solid foundation for the mine’s 20-plus year
lifespan. The downturn offered Snap Lake Mine – indeed all of
De Beers Family of Companies around the world – the
“We cut services and supplies first, but it wasn’t enough to
opportunity to retool processes, making them more
conserve our cash position to get us through the year,” says
Ken Smith, Superintendent, Business Development and
Materials Management for De Beers Snap Lake Mine. “The “Prior to downturn, we were more aggressive in supplying
downturn happened so quickly. We needed to take quick, the mine, using the ice road for the majority of our supply
decisive action. In order to be able to survive the downturn, needs. Now, we focus on getting things to the mine when
our management team made some very tough decisions.” we need them,” says Smith.
Two mine shutdowns were planned in 2009, six weeks One way De Beers has done that is through warehouse
during the summer and four weeks in December, although supply contracts.
the second shutdown was eventually cancelled as the
12 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
2009 Operations & Capital Expenditures
Expenditure Percentage of
in 2009 Expenditure
Total Spend $155,953,429
NWT Portion of $116,206,871 74.51%
Total Spend of Total Spend
Aboriginal Portion $58,967,035 50.74%
of NWT Spend of NWT Spend
Total Expenditure Including Construction
Total Expenditure Percentage of
to end of 2009 Expenditure
Total Spend $1,390,997,118
NWT Portion $977,537,416 70.28%
of Total Spend of Total Spend
Aboriginal Portion $630,388,456 64.49%
of NWT Spend of NWT Spend
Note: These numbers are based on a calendar year and thus
are slightly different than those numbers presented in the
De Beers Canada Report to Society, which are based on
De Beers Canada’s Fiscal year. In 2010, an adjustment will be
made to bring this reporting into alignment. Dan Kipling, De Beers Warehouse
coordinator works at keeping the
De Beers identified products and equipment that it uses
continuously, but doesn’t need huge quantities of on site.
That includes things like safety gear, paint, nuts and bolts,
shovels, gloves, pipe, drill bits, couplings, underground
equipment, electrical supplies, and so on.
“We enter into long-term purchasing contracts with
suppliers, and provide a local supplier with a guaranteed
level of demand,” he says.
Also, De Beers reviewed its inventory, identified overstock In 2009, nine NWT businesses either entered or modified
and looked at getting some returns. It also went through their profiles in our NWT Business Registry and by the end
the construction equipment still on site and backhauled of the year, 163 Businesses were registered.
that. With the help of Tli Cho Landtran, De Beers auctioned
Another way De Beers is generating partnerships is
off the equipment.
through its Business Opportunities Breakfast, held each
“It’s these little things that we are now more cautious of,” year in November.
Begun in 2007, the breakfast is a venue where businesses
While the economy has improved, business pressure still can learn about upcoming opportunities and De Beers
exists. The marketplace is more competitive and companies can strengthen existing relationships with businesses and
have shifted their way of thinking and broadened their foster new ones. It’s also an opportunity for businesses
horizons. to sit together and talk, which could lead to their own
partnerships and service to Snap Lake Mine.
“The services we need from contractors are always there,
and we still help them ensure they meet our needs. But In addition, De Beers publishes an annual Northern
now, we’re focusing more on partnerships,” says Smith. Business Opportunities Profile, which outlines our Northern
Business Agreements and Commitments, lists items to
One way De Beers encourages northern and Aboriginal
be purchased for the following year’s winter road supply
involvement is with its NWT Business Registry. Businesses
and provides Snap Lake Mine Materials Management
can submit their profiles and access information about
department contacts, among other information.
goods and services required at Snap Lake Mine.
Ron Near, left, is
regional manager of
Tli Cho Landtran
which hauls freight
to and from the
Snap Lake Mine.
Tli Cho Landtran–in it for the long haul
You can’t mine diamonds by yourself. Especially when One of the most successful solutions was organizing and
you’re 220 km from the nearest city; when for 10 months holding an auction of surplus material.
of the year, you are inaccessible except by plane. De Beers
“They played a big role in helping us divest surplus
Canada knows that, and that’s why we have built strong
equipment. They suggested we auction the material off.
partnerships with northern contractors who know how to
They backhauled and stored the material at their quarry,
work effectively in challenging northern conditions.
and then helped us hold the auction. They work in our
One such contractor is Tli Cho Landtran, the joint venture best interest and provide valuable advice,” says Ken Smith,
between the economic development arm of the Tlicho Superintendent, Business Development and Materials
Government and international transportation giant Management for De Beers Snap Lake Mine. “We are proud
Landtran Group of Companies. of the tremendous job they do for us.”
Tli Cho Landtran hauls freight to and from the Snap Lake Another example of this working partnership was the
site. It is also responsible for on- and offloading the freight, support Tli Cho Landtran provided for the new camp
building and maintaining the spur road between the ice modules at the site. Tli Cho not only transported the
road and the Snap Lake mine site, and providing year-long modules up, but organized the shipments and offloading to
logistical support. ensure that everything was catalogued properly, ensuring
that the set up would go smoothly.
“De Beers sees our relationship as a partnership. We have
worked closely together, and communicate almost daily, Near says they wouldn’t do it any other way.
which is one of the reasons for our success,” says Ron Near,
“On the business side, yes, De Beers is a very large client
regional manager of Tli Cho Landtran.
and they’ve helped us grow to where we are now. But on
Another reason for the successful partnership is the the personal side, we truly appreciate working with
creativity Tli Cho Landtran provides its client. Not only does De Beers. It’s been rewarding to see the mine grow to what
it ensure the freight going up to the mine site is properly it is today,” says Near.
handled, it also plans the winter trucking season so that
“We both understand that we don’t have control over world
every truck coming back from the site is carrying material.
economics. Our relationship is able to withstand the bad
That means working with De Beers to assess all equipment
times and enjoy the good times. We look at the partnership
and supplies on site and then organizing them for the
we have with De Beers and we know the good times will
come back. “
With the economic downturn digging in its heels in 2009,
Tli Cho Landtran knew it was going to be a tough year.
“We identified early that 2009 was going to be slow, so we
looked outside for new businesses. With De Beers, we came
up with some solutions that were beneficial to both of us,”
14 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Contractor makes security investment pay off
Foresight and an initial investment can lead to great things. “We patrol the road to ensure the safety of all users as well
Just ask Patrick Doyle, the president of Det’on Cho Scarlet as to protect the integrity of the ice,” says Doyle.
Security, a company hired by De Beers to provide training
They monitor speed limits and ensure proper spacing
for its Snap Lake Mine spur road staff.
between trucks. They can also issue infraction tickets.
A few years ago, Doyle and his partners at Scarlet’s parent
Scarlet has a strong focus on training, health and safety
company Alarand Ltd. identified a new growth market –
and hazard management. Most of the officers working with
providing security to remote, industrial sites in the north.
Scarlet have extensive backgrounds in law enforcement.
“In business, successful companies need to look toward
For De Beers, hiring Scarlet made sense. It was also
the future. A few years ago, there really was only one player
important to ensure workers from all members of the
occupying that niche market,” says Doyle.
Winter Road Joint Venture had the same level of training.
“That’s when we started exploring a joint venture with
‘They are very good at what they do. They provide great
Det’on Cho Corporation, the economic development arm of
service, and their staff are all trained professionals,” says
the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. There was no urgency
Tom Raine, Manager Protective Services.
so we took our time, talked and fostered the relationship
before putting a deal in place,” says Doyle. “Scarlet is a great northern story. The company had great
foresight in terms of preparing to get the ice road security
Scarlet’s first job, prior to the joint venture with Det’on Cho,
contract. The owners invested in their business and now
was providing fly-in, fly-out security at the Baffinland Iron
they are seeing the benefits,” says Raine, “That’s a lesson
Mines Corp. project on Baffin Island in Nunavut.
other businesses can learn from. If you invest in your
That led to a contract with the Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto Ice company, and talk to us, show us how you can help and we
Road Joint Venture, which includes De Beers. Scarlet was can benefit, we can make it work.”
tasked to provide all security on the ice road, which meant
12 officers, two dispatchers, a supervisor and a coordinator
“In business, successful companies need to look toward the future.” – Patrick Doyle
Heart healthy meals are offered
to all workers.
Chris O’Neil, Ek’Ati Services, is a chef at Snap Lake Mine.
Six week shutdown helps recharge workers
Unintended benefits can spring up when you least expect Employees took advantage of the situation to re-energize
them. and do things they’ve always wanted to do but never had
So when De Beers announced it would shut down for
six weeks over the summer of 2009, there was some For Trevor, those six weeks gave him the opportunity to
apprehension, and many questions. pursue a dream.
Questions like: What does it mean? Will I still have a job? “I always wanted to be a cowboy,” he says.
Will the mine re-open?
Following a visit to the Yukon and Alaska, Mogg found his
Those questions were quickly answered, and apprehension way to Homeplace Ranch in Kananaskis country, just south
turned to enthusiasm. of Calgary, for a two-week stay.
“I think at first, we were all quite shocked that we were The guest ranch gives visitors a chance to ride horses
forced to shut down. But when we explained that we along mountain trails, live in rustic cabins and enjoy a real
wanted to make sure we remain a viable business, and this western experience.
was the way to do, it turned into a positive thing. People
Mogg wasn’t just there to have fun and enjoy the scenery.
started seeing it as a six-week holiday,” says Brad Corrigan,
For one week, he spent the time working as a trail guide
Mine General Manager.
and ranch hand.
Ask almost any employee – they returned to work refreshed
The owner was so impressed with his work that he even
offered him a job; an offer Trevor couldn’t refuse.
“We were all pretty optimistic about the shutdown. It was
“I just fell in love with it,” he says. So, when he’s not at Snap
really an opportunity rather than a hardship. De Beers
Lake Mine, he’s at the ranch having the time of his life.
made it clear that we were all going to keep our jobs and
we understood this was the best thing for the company,” “I’m kind of living out of a suitcase now, but it’s a good time
says Trevor Mogg, a drill geologist who has been with and a lot of fun.”
De Beers for 10 years. “And besides, who wouldn’t want six
weeks off in the summer?”
“We understood this was the
best thing for the company.”
– Trevor Mogg,
16 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
To help employees be able to enjoy adventures like Mogg’s
or even spend relaxing time at home, De Beers took a
“Prior to the shutdown, we gave employees as much
information as possible, and told them why we needed
to do this. We then met one-on-one with them to discuss
options and how we could assist them,” says Gaeleen
MacPherson, Superintendent Human Resources.
Some employees had enough vacation to cover the whole
six weeks. Those who had less were offered choices so they
didn’t end up with a month of unpaid leave. We provided
money management plan and information on how to
access Employment Insurance benefits, if that was a choice
employees felt fit.
Ensuring employees could manage money through the
closure, the company offered a savings plans to help
Amanda Soldat keeps active working out
employees set funds aside for when they were off work on a treadmill.
More than 90 per cent of workers participated in the
savings plan option.
In addition, De Beers worked with our contractors ensuring
they had time and information to set up similar money
management programs for their staff.
The somewhat unexpected benefits of the shutdown A Joint Consultative Committee meets monthly, where
aside, the company works hard on a variety of health and employees and managers discuss issues and address any
wellness initiatives, at the mine and in the community. concerns from around the mine site and the Yellowknife
office. At Snap Lake, new fitness equipment was installed in
Through the Employee and Family Assistance Program 2009 and there’s mandatory drug and alcohol training for
(EFAP), employees and their family members can access workers.
a variety of services from Shepell-fgi. This includes
counselling services and other programming, as well as a A significant investment in 2009 was a partnership
monthly newsletter distributed to all workers. between De Beers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation
(YKDFN). We worked together to inventory health and
wellness programs available to YKDFN members. This will
allow us to work together in 2010 to identify gaps in service
that De Beers can work to fill.
Books in Homes a valuable
Youth in eight schools think Christmas takes place twice a
year: when Santa comes to town, and when De Beers brings
its Books in Homes program.
Since 2003, De Beers has been handing out three books
a year to every youth in Behchoko, Wekweeti, Whati,
Gameti, Ndilo, Dettah and Lutsel K’e. In that time, De Beers
has invested $420,000 and distributed 21,000 books, the
Mine General Manager, Brad Corrigan,
equivalent of six books for every man, woman and child in and Grace Mackenzie, De Beers
those communities. In fact, for those youth who have taken
part in the program since the beginning, they would have
Community Liaison Coordinator share
received 21 books each. the joy of reading with students at
Books in Homes was begun as a way for De Beers to have a Lutsel K’e Dene School
lasting, meaningful impact on the literacy challenge facing
the Northwest Territories. By building home libraries, the
company hopes the importance of reading and literacy
is embraced by children and parents. Over the years, the Part of the program is bringing reading role models into
kinds of books being chosen by youth has changed as they the community. De Beers encourages its staff to participate,
pick material that tests their improving reading skills and especially those who come from those communities. In
matches their interests. addition, MLAs representing the communities are invited to
“It’s a great program that the kids love. Kids look forward take part.
to when we come into their community,” says Grace “It was a great experience, encouraging youth to read.” says
Mackenzie. “And we look forward to it too. It’s wonderful to Jessica Abel, who is from Dettah. “I was able to show them
share the joy of reading, and to reconnect with youth you that they can get good jobs like mine if they stay in school.”
met the last time around.
The experience is only going to get better. Fort Resolution,
The program has made such an impact that in 2009, new to the Books in Homes program, is coming on board
De Beers Canada received an NWT Ministerial Literacy for 2010.
Award for its commitment to literacy, for supporting
Northern people to lead fulfilled lives, and for contributing
to a strong and prosperous society. Passionate about literacy
De Beers has partnered with the Yellowknife Book Cellar to Literacy is the first step in empowering people to shape
provide and distribute the books. their own future and is a key to ensuring individual
“We chose a northern company as part of our commitment opportunities, community development and economic
to support northern business,” says Mackenzie. “They success. In 2009, De Beers supported the following literacy
are a wonderful business to work with, and they help us activities:
tremendously in selecting books and setting up the book • northWords Writers Festival (Premier Sponsor)
display.” • NWT Literacy Council, donation from Business
• Kaw Tay Whee School – Dogrib Video Project
• Gumboots 19th annual concert – celebrating
northern stories in song
18 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Helping hands for communities
Our support for communities is more than dollars. Some of the highlights of our community contributions
Employees give helping hands, because there’s no more include:
rewarding way to have an impact than to roll up your
• Yellowknives Dene First Nation Christmas festival/
sleeves and get to work.
Youth Cultural Camp
At De Beers Canada, we see our social investments as more • Lutsel K’e Spring Carnival
than just cheques and prizes. Wherever possible, we like to • Exercise equipment for Jean Wetrade Gameti School
get involved and encourage our employees to take part in • YWCA Taiga Adventure Camp for girls
the things we sponsor. • Tree of Peace Friendship Centre – Talent Show and
Elders Christmas Feast
Whether it’s cooking up burgers and hotdogs at the Miners’
• NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities
Picnic, belting out a tune at the Tree of Peace Talent Show,
• Northern Arts and Cultural Centre
or working with youth through Skills Canada, the smiles of
• NWT Aboriginal Business Conference
our employees who take part in community events shine as
• Tlicho Handgames Tournament
brightly as our diamonds.
• NWT Mining Heritage Society
In 2009, a total of $1.69 million was spent on social • Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation
investment and to support efforts to build capacity in • Kaw Tay Whee School
communities. While the amount was less than 2008, we • Northern Student Education Initiative
focused our efforts on projects we believed would have the • Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
most lasting impact. • Astronomy North (Legendary Sky Diamond)
• NWT Special Olympics
Once again in 2009, the majority of our social investment
• John Howard Society
dollars went to Education, Literacy and Training – totaling
more than $1.2 million. We recognize the need to continue
to invest training and apprenticeships, support youth, and
work with training partners and communities to build a
solid, sustainable future.
Approximately $200,000 went to sponsor community
events and initiatives while the rest was divided among arts
and culture, business development, sports and health.
The late Maurice Lockhart of Lutsel K’e ﬁddles at the 2009 Tree of Peace Talent Show held each
spring in Yellowknife. For the past several years, the event as been sponsored by De Beers Canada.
“The handgames are great for everyone. It’s a great way for the community to get together,
celebrate our heritage and watch the youth have fun.” – Bobby Drygeese
Celebrating with our communities
Tradition is a great way to bring communities together. So In addition to the handgames tournament, the week
when a group of volunteers belonging to the Yellowknives consisted of a number of activities, all designed to give the
Dene First Nation came up with the idea to hold a variety of youth a fun and productive way to spend their break from
Christmas celebrations, De Beers Canada was quick to jump school. There was a pancake breakfast, a craft and bake
on board. sale, a large Christmas tree was set up in N’dilo and a drum
dance held on Christmas night.
The $5,000 donation wasn’t a lot of money, but it went a
long way to bringing people living in Dettah and Ndilo “They sponsored the games. They helped with the food and
closer together. preparations. The people from De Beers were wonderful,”
One of the highlight events during the week was a
handgames tournament for youth, won by an exuberant As well as a lot of fun, the week was educational.
team of pre-teen boys, aged between nine and 12 years of Community elders shared their knowledge, traditions and
age. culture with the young people whenever they could. They
took them out on the land, showing them how to set rabbit
The surprising results created a lot of buzz and excitement,
snares and live off the land. Everything the youth caught
and got the week’s activities off to a fun-filled start.
was brought back to the community and shared with the
“The handgames are great for everyone,” says Bobby elders, which gave the youngsters a great sense of pride
Drygeese, band councillor for the Yellowknives Dene First and accomplishment.
Nation and one of the volunteers who helped bring the
“With the Dene people, the youth and elders spend
celebration together. “It’s a great way for the community to
as much time together as possible. The kids learn a lot
get together, celebrate our heritage and watch the youth
from the elders, who have a lifetime of knowledge,” says
Elizabeth (Sabet) Biscaye, De Beers Canada Senior
“We are so proud to be a part of the memories made, and
Community Liaison Coordinator, wasn’t content to just
we can’t wait to do it all again,” says Biscaye.
hand over the money and watch from the sidelines. She
rolled up her sleeves, helping cook a pancake breakfast and
much more, volunteering her personal time to help the
Yellowknives Dene community celebrate Christmas.
“We’ve developed a solid relationship with the Yellowknives
Dene First Nation. They are so committed to the well-being
of their people, and we want to support that,” says Biscaye.
20 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
2009 Employment Data
The past year has been a difficult one for economies This announcement will bring growth to the Territory’s job
throughout the world, and indeed, throughout Canada. market in 2010, but will not change the results from 2009.
The recession that began to surface midway through 2008 The employment data from 2009 speaks to what was a very
quickly drained economies around the world of billions of difficult period for our employees and contractors working
dollars in wealth. Job losses in North American, European at the Snap Lake Mine. The overall workforce, measured in
and Asian markets reached epic proportions, individual terms of full-time equivalence also described as person-
and corporate financial security vanished and consumer years of employment, was 431 in 2009. It was 728 in 2008.
confidence sank to historic lows. World demand for luxury
The economic difficulties in 2009 have not altered
items, which is so critical to the NWT economy, and our
De Beers’ commitment to employing NWT residents. Efforts
to increase the share of resident workers to 60 per cent
By December of 2008, we had announced the first of what of the total labour force continued throughout the year
would become two rounds of downsizing at our Snap Lake despite the setbacks. The commitment to hire residents
Diamond Mine in an effort to slow production to a pace extends to our contractors and their sub-contractors.
in line with the shrinking world demand for diamonds. In
Based on the projected labour requirements established
the first round, 105 people lost their jobs, all of whom were
in the Project’s Environmental Assessment Statement, the 60
working for a KeTe Whii Procon providing underground
per cent NWT Residency target equates to 300 full-time
mining services. The majority of these employees were non-
equivalent jobs based on employment of 500. In absolute
NWT residents. A second round of downsizing followed
terms, the number of NWT residents working at the Snap
two months later. This round of cutbacks affected 128
Lake Mine finished the year at 162 person-years which
of our own employees with another 90 contractor jobs
represents 38 per cent of the year’s workforce. Of these
being lost as contracts were suspended indefinitely. Many
workers, 69 (43 per cent) were in management, professional
of the people who lost their jobs at that time were NWT
or skilled positions.
residents. Finally, De Beers initiated a six-week shutdown of
its operations beginning in July that affected all remaining De Beers is confident that over the life of the project,
production staff. A small workforce carried out care and our employment commitments will be realised.1 The
maintenance procedures at the mine site during that time, NWT labour market softened over the course of the year
ensuring we kept our environment commitments. with setbacks coming at other mining operations and in
mineral exploration. This should provide an opportunity
“The world economy remained on shaky ground for the
for increased NWT resident hiring in 2010. Unfortunately,
remainder of 2009, and even in early 2010 economic
the economic downturn did not help the Territory’s efforts
growth has been slow, “ said Brad Corrigan, Mine General
to limit out migration. By the end of the third quarter of
Manager. “The good news is that as we write this report,
2009, the NWT had lost 587 people through migration.
there are signs of recovery. Jobs, capital markets, and
The consistency in which the Territory loses residents to
consumer confidence are trending upwards.”
other regions of the country hinders any real growth in
These improving conditions have given us the confidence the resident labour pool. Also impacting the labour market
to increase production to a level near full production at our are increased employment plans elsewhere in the NWT
Snap Lake Mine and this ramp up is occurring over the next economy, with Rio Tinto announcing a hiring campaign
two years. In December 2009, we announced we would be similar in size to that of De Beers for 2010. This adds to
hiring 175 people beginning in January 2010. This hiring is De Beers’ challenges to hire locally, but should be
now underway. considered a very positive development for NWT’s labour
market and the economy as a whole.
. See Section 3.4.2 in the Snap Lake Socio-Economic Agreement.
Achieving this 60 per cent target is subject to the availability of
persons in the priority groups with the required skills, training and
Employment by hiring priority
Table 1 presents employment in person-years2 by hiring were greater, with employment falling by 65. The largest
priority from 2005 to 2009 for the Snap Lake Mine. The employment losses in both absolute and relative terms
initial three years of data represent the employment were felt by non-NWT residents who saw their participation
performance during the construction phase of the project. at the mine site fall by 185 person-years, equal to a
Operations began in 2008. Employment for that year 41 per cent decline.
totalled 728 person-years. Two rounds of cutbacks that
Combined, NWT residents provided 162 person-years
totalled 323 employees coupled with a six-week shutdown
of employment to the project. This falls short of the
through the summer lowered the number of person-years
original target of 300 which is based on operating at
of employment for 2009 to 431. This is the first time in the
full production. One can also see from the table that the
five-year history of the project that the number of NWT
relative contribution of NWT residents did not change
resident workers has declined.
from one year earlier. Despite the economic challenges of
The contribution of Aboriginal residents to the labour 2009, the company remains committed to reaching its NWT
requirements of the project fell by 47 in 2009 from its peak employment targets in the operations phase of the project.
in 2008 of 139. Cutbacks to other NWT resident employees
Table 1: Employment by Hiring Priority to the end of 2009
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total Average
NWT Aboriginal 38.8 93.4 126.0 139.0 92.0 489.2 97.8
Other NWT Residents 55.9 130.0 143.0 135.0 70.5 534.4 106.9
Subtotal NWT Residents 94.7 223.4 269.0 274.0 162.5 1023.6 204.7
Non-NWT 136.7 614.3 875.0 454.0 268.7 2348.7 469.7
Grand Total 231.4 837.7 1144.0 728.0 431.2 3372.3 674.5
NWT Aboriginal 17% 11% 11% 19% 21% 15% 15%
Other NWT Residents 24% 16% 13% 19% 16% 16% 16%
Subtotal NWT Residents 41% 27% 24% 38% 38% 30% 30%
Non-NWT 59% 73% 76% 62% 62% 70% 70%
Grand Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Those that did not self identify in the survey are recorded as non-Aboriginal. NWT Aboriginal employees who were identified as residing
outside the NWT are recorded as Non-NWT Aboriginal Residents in this table. Figures may not add up due to rounding error.
. In 2009, it was expected that over a full year, an employee would
work 13 cycles of 14 days with a day equalling a 12 hour shift. This
represents 2,184 hours per year or an average of 182 hours per
month. Therefore, estimating number of jobs in terms of person
years requires summing the total number of hours worked by all
employees and dividing that number by 2,184.
22 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Additional details on the employment results from 2009 employed 144 people in person-year terms of which 63
are provided in Table 2. Specifically, these data reveal reside in the NWT. The table also shows that the majority
the employment record of De Beers and its contractors of workers are non-NWT residents at 62 per cent. The
with respect to hiring priority. De Beers’ employees now total Aboriginal contribution to the project’s labour force
outnumber that of contractors with 67 per cent of the equalled 29 per cent, of which 21 per cent represent a First
workforce being De Beers’ payroll. De Beers’ contractors Nation or Aboriginal group from within the NWT. 3
Table 2: Employment by Hiring Priority, 2009
De Beers Contractor Total
NWT Aboriginal 44.8 47.2 92.0
Other NWT Residents 54.3 16.2 70.5
Subtotal NWT Residents 99.0 63.4 162.5
Non-NWT Aboriginal 25.6 7.8 33.4
Other Non-NWT Residents 162.7 72.6 235.4
Subtotal Non-NWT Residents 188.3 80.5 268.7
Total 287.3 143.9 431.2
(per cent of total)
NWT Aboriginal 16% 33% 21%
Other NWT Residents 19% 11% 16%
Subtotal NWT Residents 34% 44% 38%
Non-NWT Aboriginal 9% 5% 8%
Other Non-NWT Residents 57% 50% 55%
Subtotal NWT Residents 66% 56% 62%
Total 100% 100% 100%
Note: Those that did not self identify in the survey are recorded as non-Aboriginal. NWT Aboriginal
employees who were identified as residing outside the NWT are recorded as Non-NWT Aboriginal
Residents in this table. Figures may not add up due to rounding error.
Employee breakdown – 2009
NWT Resident and Non – Resident
Non-NWT NWT Residents
Employment by hiring priority and job classification
Table 3 presents employment results from 2009 by hiring This is an improvement over last year in each category.
priority and job classification. The highest paying positions NWT residents as a whole made up 82 per cent of the
within the Project are the jobs classified as management, 30 unskilled jobs and 40 per cent of the 173 semi-skilled
professional and skilled. Eight of the 17 management jobs. Increasing the number and percentage of resident
positions, 8 of the 20 professional positions, and 53 of the managers, professionals and skilled employees through
191 skilled positions were filled by NWT residents – promotion and resident hires remains an important
49 per cent, 37 per cent, and 28 per cent respectively. objective for De Beers.
Table 3 (a): Employment by Hiring Priority and Job Classification, 2009
NWT Other Subtotal NWT Non-NWT Grand
Aboriginal NWT Residents Residents Residents Total
Management 1.6 6.9 8.5 8.7 17.1
Professional 0.9 6.7 7.5 12.8 20.3
Skilled 20.8 32.3 53.1 138.1 191.2
Subtotal 23.3 45.9 69.1 159.5 228.6
Semi-Skilled 47.5 21.5 69.0 103.9 172.9
Unskilled 21.3 3.1 24.4 5.3 29.7
Subtotal 68.7 24.6 93.3 109.1 202.6
Total 92.0 70.5 162.5 268.7 431.2
Per cent of total by job classification
Management 9% 40% 49% 51% 100%
Professional 4% 33% 37% 63% 100%
Skilled 11% 17% 28% 72% 100%
Subtotal 10% 20% 30% 70% 100%
Semi-Skilled 27% 12% 40% 60% 100%
Unskilled 72% 11% 82% 18% 100%
Subtotal 34% 12% 46% 54% 100%
Total 21% 16% 38% 62% 100%
Per cent of total by hiring priority
Management 2% 10% 5% 3% 4%
Professional 1% 9% 5% 5% 5%
Skilled 23% 46% 33% 51% 44%
Subtotal 25% 65% 43% 59% 53%
Semi-Skilled 52% 31% 42% 39% 40%
Unskilled 23% 4% 15% 2% 7%
Subtotal 75% 35% 57% 41% 47%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Note: Those that did not self identify in the survey are recorded as non-Aboriginal. NWT Aboriginal employees
who were identified as residing outside the NWT are recorded as Non-NWT Aboriginal Residents in this table.
Figures may not add up due to rounding error.
24 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
NWT Residency Employment by Job Category Aboriginal Employment by Job Category
(Person Years) (Person Years)
NWT Residents Aboriginal
Non-NWT Residents Other
Number of FTE jobs
Number of FTE jobs
emen Professional Skilled Semi-Skill Unskilled Manag
emen ional Skilled mi-Skilled Unskill
Manag Profess Se
Table 3(b): Aboriginal Employment by Hiring Priority and Job Classification, 2009
NWT Non-NWT Total Other NWT Other Non-NWT Grand
Aboriginal Aboriginal Aboriginal Residents Residents Total
Management 1.6 0.9 2.4 6.9 7.8 17.1
Professional 0.9 0.0 0.9 6.7 12.8 20.3
Skilled 20.8 6.6 27.4 32.3 131.5 191.2
Subtotal 23.3 7.4 30.7 45.9 152.1 228.6
Semi-Skilled 47.5 16.5 63.9 21.5 87.4 172.9
Unskilled 21.3 3.2 24.5 3.1 2.1 29.7
Subtotal 68.7 19.7 88.4 24.6 89.6 202.6
Total 92.0 27.1 119.1 70.5 241.7 431.2
Classification and Hiring Priority (Aboriginal Status)
Management 9% 5% 14% 40% 46% 100%
Professional 4% 0% 4% 33% 63% 100%
Skilled 11% 3% 14% 17% 69% 100%
Subtotal 10% 3% 13% 20% 67% 100%
Semi-Skilled 27% 10% 37% 12% 51% 100%
Unskilled 72% 11% 82% 11% 7% 100%
Subtotal 34% 10% 44% 12% 44% 100%
Total 21% 6% 28% 16% 56% 100%
Per cent of total by hiring priority
Management 2% 3% 2% 10% 3% 4%
Professional 1% 0% 1% 9% 5% 5%
Skilled 23% 24% 23% 46% 54% 44%
Subtotal 25% 27% 26% 65% 63% 53%
Semi-Skilled 52% 61% 54% 31% 36% 40%
Unskilled 23% 12% 21% 4% 1% 7%
Subtotal 75% 73% 74% 35% 37% 47%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Note: Those that did not self identify in the survey are recorded as non-Aboriginal. NWT Aboriginal employees
who were identified as residing outside the NWT are recorded as Non-NWT Aboriginal Residents in this table.
Figures may not add up due to rounding error.
The Employment Statistical Information (ESI) Form used to collect employee and contractor information on residency, heritage, gender and
job category results in data which can require some explanation and interpretation. Aboriginal employees can record their status in one of
three categories within the survey: Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) Group, NWT Aboriginal or Other Aboriginal. “NWT Aboriginal” is defined
in the survey as Any Indian, Inuit or Metis individual who originated in the NWT or is a descendant of an Aboriginal person originating in the
NWT. De Beers assumes that this will capture every employee who represents any other Aboriginal community in the NWT regardless of their
residency. De Beers assumes that “Other Aboriginal” captures all other Aboriginal people. Finally, it is important to note that someone who
identifies themselves as part of an IBA group or another NWT Aboriginal group may not always reside in the NWT. Heritage and residency
are mutually exclusive. Those who self identify as a member of the North Slave Métis Alliance, Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Lutsel K’e and
Kache Dene First Nation or Tlicho Nation and that also indicate they live outside of the NWT are still considered by De Beers to be within the
first hiring priority. This is in accordance with terms within Impact Benefit Agreements, which supersede the hiring priorities of the Socio
Economic Agreement. Also, a number of individuals choose not to self-identify themselves by their heritage or location. These individuals are
recorded as non-Aboriginal, non-NWT residents.
Employment by community
The employment data by NWT community is presented 2. Aboriginal people residing in the NWT;
in Table 4. This data is recorded as the number of person-
3. NWT residents who have been continuously resident in
years of employment and as the average number of
the NWT for at least six months;
active employees. With the downsizing of the Snap Lake
Mine’s workforce, De Beers’ focus was to limit to the extent 4. All others residing in or relocating to the NWT; and,
possible laying off employees within priority groups
5. Others (non-NWT residents).
established in the Snap Lake Socio-Economic Agreement. 4
The order of hiring priority is as follows: Over the course of 2009, 16 NWT communities were
represented in the workforce at Snap Lake Mine. Most of
1. Members of Aboriginal Authorities, including
these workers resided in Yellowknife, accounting for
a. Lutsel K’e and Kache Dene First Nation; 26 per cent of the 431.2 person-years of total employment.
b. North Slave Métis Alliance; The Town of Hay River contributed 17.5 person-years
c. Tlicho government, (4 per cent of total employment), while Behchoko added
another 14.2 person years (3 per cent of total employment)
d. Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
to the mine.
Table 4: Employment by NWT Community
Community Person Years Percentage of
Behchoko 14.2 3%
Deline 0.6 0%
Enterprise 1.1 0%
Fort McPherson 0.7 0%
Fort Providence 0.4 0%
Fort Resolution 2.5 1%
Fort Simpson 1.3 0%
Fort Smith 8.1 2%
Gameti 1.0 0%
Hay River 17.5 4%
Inuvik 0.7 0%
Lutsel K’e 1.4 0%
Tulita 1.1 0%
Wekweeti 0.1 0%
Whati 2.5 1%
Yellowknife 110.2 26%
Other 267.9 62%
Total 431.2 100%
Note: figures may not add up due to rounding error.
.See Section 3.2 in the Snap Lake Socio-Economic Agreement.
26 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
New hires by residency
Table 5 presents the number of new hires by residency previous years were primarily driving construction and
separated between employees of De Beers and its commissioning where a variety of hiring takes place to
contractors. The data in this table is not in person-years, bring in specialized skills. De Beers’ new hires totalled 51; of
but, rather, by number of individuals hired. During 2009, that 41 per cent were NWT residents. De Beers’ contractors’
De Beers and its contractors hired 213 new workers. new hires totalled 162, of which 57 per cent were NWT
The number is much lower than previous years due to residents. The contractor doing the most hiring for the
the cutbacks in the first half of the year, and because year was Tli Cho Logistics. It hired 121 employees over
the course of the year. Ek’Ati Services Ltd. was another
contractor that recruited several new hires in 2009 adding
23 new employees.
Table 5: New Hires by Residency
> 6 Months < 6 Months NWT Non-NWT Total
Number of New Employees
De Beers Canada Inc. 9 12 21 30 51
Contractors 53 39 92 70 162
Total 62 51 113 100 213
Per cent of Total
De Beers Canada Inc. 18% 24% 41% 59% 100%
Contractors 33% 24% 57% 43% 100%
Total 29% 24% 53% 47% 100%
Employment by gender and job classification
De Beers Canada Inc. supports and encourages the There were 60 women employed at the Snap Lake Mine
participation of women in all aspects of work related to the in 2009. In percentage terms, it is the unskilled positions
Snap Lake Mine. De Beers encourages similar commitments where women are more significantly represented, holding
from its contractors.5 Table 6 and Table 7 provide evidence 53 per cent of jobs in that category. In other categories,
of De Beers’ record in this area. The overall workforce is percentages of women is much lower. Women fill 8 per cent
dominated by men at 86 per cent. of management, professional, and skilled positions when
combined and 14 per cent of semi-skilled positions.
Table 6: Employment by Job Classification and Gender
Men Women Total
(person-years) (per cent) (person-years) (per cent) (person-years) (per cent)
Management 14.1 83% 3.0 17% 17.1 100%
Professional 18.7 92% 1.7 8% 20.3 100%
Skilled 176.5 92% 14.7 8% 191.2 100%
Subtotal 209.3 92% 19.3 8% 228.6 100%
Semi-Skilled 148.0 86% 24.9 14% 172.9 100%
Unskilled 14.0 47% 15.7 53% 29.7 100%
Subtotal 161.9 80% 40.7 20% 202.6 100%
Grand Total 371.2 86% 60.0 14% 431.2 100%
Note: figures may not add up due to rounding error.
Table 7: Employment by Job Classification
(person-years) (per cent)
Management 3.0 5%
Professional 1.7 3%
Skilled 14.7 24%
Subtotal 19.3 32%
Semi-Skilled 24.9 42%
Unskilled 15.7 26%
Subtotal 40.7 68%
Grand Total 60.0 100%
Note: figures may not add up due to rounding error.
See Section 4.10 in the Snap Lake Socio-Economic Agreement.
28 Snap Lake Mine Socio-Economic Report
Employment of Women by Job Classification
NWT survey of mine employees
The NWT Bureau of Statistics conducted a comprehensive • with increased education comes greater mobility
survey of diamond mine employees in the spring of 2009 and increased interest in the intrinsic benefits to
on behalf of De Beers Canada Inc., Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton relocating such as recreational opportunities;
and the Government of the NWT. The survey was one of • those who lived in the NWT and have moved away
three initiatives undertaken by the three mines and the are more likely to return than those who have never
GNWT under an MOU to develop a northern work force. lived in the Territory;
It focused on things diamond mine employees like and • of those who are contemplating relocation to the
dislike about their current community of residence, factors NWT,
they consider when thinking about relocation and barriers — most like that they would be closer to their
to moving to the Northwest Territories.6 work, but dislike what the move might mean for
their financial position,
The results from those surveyed were separated into four
— the most prominent concerns of these
categories according to their residency status—NWT
potential residents include distance from family
residents who are from the NWT, NWT residents who
and friends, cost of living, and employment
moved to the Territory, non-NWT residents who have
opportunities for their spouse;
previously lived in the NWT, and non-NWT residents who
• of those non-residents not considering relocation, the
have never lived in the Territory.
main reasons cited included that they like their home
The results of this survey were very much in line with community and were concerned with the cost of
what De Beers has learned about its workforce through living in the NWT and the length of winters.
our efforts to attract people to our mine and the Territory In addition to the overall results from the survey, De Beers
during the past five years of construction and operations. was provided with the results from the Snap Lake Mine
Perhaps most interesting were the results that showed workforce. There is little difference between this subset and
44.6 per cent of NWT resident mine workers (equal to 443 the overall survey results. A slight discrepancy exists in the
respondents) stated they were likely or very likely to leave age profile of De Beers’ workforce when compared to that
the Territory in the next year should an opportunity to do of the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines. The Snap Lake Mine
so arise. A majority (64.3 per cent) of these people cited the employs a greater percentage of people under the age
cost of living as the number one factor. Other prominent of 25 (8.8 per cent compared to 4.6 per cent at the other
considerations included wanting a change, the weather, mines). Snap Lake Mine workers also have less experience
and a desire to be closer to family. Other important working for a northern mine than those working at the
highlights from the survey are noted below: Ekati or Diavik diamond mines (19.8 per cent of Snap Lake’s
workforce has 5 years experience or more compared to
• NWT resident mine workers are, on average, younger
58.2 per cent at the other mines). This seems logical given
and more mobile than non-NWT resident workers;
De Beers’ mine had been operating for less than 18 months
• many of the differences and issues related to mobility
at the time of the survey. Looking at the entire workforce
between NWT and non-NWT resident mine workers
at the Snap Lake Mine, their responses to questions about
are a function of this age difference (for example,
relocating in the next year were identical to the survey
age is correlated with family conditions—younger
average, however Snap Lake employees residing in the
workers are more likely to be single, married without
NWT were more likely to leave than other NWT residents
children, or married with young children, they are also
working at one of the other mines (53.8 per cent compared
less likely to be tied down by financial obligations,
to 44.1 per cent respectively). This deviation is likely
and thus find it easier to move);
the result of employing a higher percentage of young
• closeness to family and friends is the most critical
people and newcomers to the industry—both factors are
factor in considering one’s residency, following by
correlated with increased mobility.
financial consideration such as cost of living, cost of
. NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2009 NWT Survey of Mine Employees:
Report to De Beers, August 2009. 29