Diavik community

Diavik communities

Commitments are formalised through individual participation agreements with the Tlicho Government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Metis Alliance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation.

We also have a socio-economic monitoring agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories, which was signed by Indigenous partners. 

  • Community Contribution Programme
  • Scholarships
  • Sourcing locally
  • Cultural heritage
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Land agreements

Community Contribution Programme

Aimed at serving and strengthening the communities of the Northwest Territories and West Kitkimeot, we provide support through our community contribution programme. The key priority areas of the programme are:

  1. Business capacity building (business and educational development) 
  2. Health, safety, and wellness 
  3. Culture, arts, and community pride

The projects funded by our Community Contribution fund focus on improving the quality of life for residents of the NWT and West Kitikmeot regions.

If you have a project you would like our Community Contribution Committee to consider for funding, please download the application and submit to DiavikCommunities@riotinto.com.

We also contribute to local communities through in-kind volunteering and participating in the communities, including our five local participation agreement groups.

Diavik Community Contribution Fund Application Form
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We provide financial assistance for northerners pursuing their education goals through a variety of scholarship programmes.

We support a scholarship fund (with three annual scholarships) at the Yellowknife Community Foundation and, in 2018, funded a new scholarship for women in the NWT and Kitikmeot region to pursue post-secondary education in science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Applications will be available in May each year.

Access YCF scholarships >

We also support scholarships for students nominated by P.W Kaeser, Diamond Jenness Secondary School, St. Patrick High School, and Ecole Sir John Franklin High School who are entering post-secondary studies. Students can contact their school administration to learn more.

Two Diavik scholarships are available at Aurora College, with a focus on the Environment and Natural Resources Technology Program.

Access Aurora College scholarships >

Applications for our two Diavik-administered scholarship programmes, Children of Diavik Employees and Post-secondary Scholarships, are accepted annually in August. Application forms can be accessed here.

Additionally, through our Participation Agreements, we are providing scholarship funds to our community partners to administer for their members.

Sourcing locally

In 2019, we continued to focus on partnering with Northern businesses and, in so doing, ensured major benefits flowed to local firms, many of which are Indigenous. For example, 74% of our spending, or C$370.6 million, was with Northern businesses – an increase over the C$321.9 million spent with northern companies in 2018.

Of this 2019 northern spend, C$166.7 million was with northern Indigenous businesses – an increase over the C$158.4 million spent in 2018.

Cultural heritage

Diavik operates in one of the world’s most untouched and ecologically sensitive environments. Vast tundra surrounds the mine and it is home to bears, wolverine, and migrating caribou. The waters of Lac de Gras are pure and teeming with fish and bird life. 

Over one-third of the Northwest Territories is covered by lakes and rivers and in spite of its apparent abundance water is considered a precious resource, especially by Indigenous peoples. It provides habitat for much of the wildlife that is critical to the traditional lifestyles of local communities.  

For example, caribou play a key role in Indigenous culture and spirituality and it remains a staple in the diets of many Indigenous people. These and other environmental factors were carefully taken into account to ensure Diavik has minimal environmental effects and the operation meets the needs of local communities.

Traditional knowledge 

Diavik engages with local Indigenous communities and its environmental monitoring programmes include incorporating traditional knowledge from local communities.  

For example, the mine’s aquatic effects monitoring programme was designed by community members to evaluate fish health and water quality using traditional indicators. As part of this programme, which is based from a seasonal camp near the mine site, fish are caught, cleaned, inspected, cooked, and tasted. Water is inspected, sampled, boiled, and tasted. Participants share traditional knowledge of the Lac de Gras area and record their observations of the fish and the water. The initiative was documented and a video, titled We Fish Today, For Fish Tomorrow, has been produced. Results from both scientific and traditional knowledge observations indicate the present status of fish and water in Lac de Gras is good. 

Land agreements 

We are committed to ensuring local communities benefit from the sustainable development of its mine and these commitments are formalized through individual participation agreements with the: Tlicho Government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Metis Alliance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation.  

We have entered into an Environmental Agreement with local Indigenous groups, and federal and territorial governments. Concluded in March 2000, the agreement formalizes Diavik’s environmental protection commitments, establishes reclamation security requirements, and provides transparency and oversight to local communities. Through this agreement, we established an Environmental Monitoring Advisory Board to provide advice and oversee environmental issues with representatives from our Indigenous communities. 

As part of Diavik’s local commitments under the Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement, Indigenous people and northern residents receive hiring priority. We are committed to achieving at least 40% Indigenous employment at Diavik, and at least 66% Northern employment including our contractors. This commitment is formalised in the socio-economic monitoring agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories and Indigenous signatories. 

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We know our operations can have far-reaching impacts on society