Diavik community

Diavik communities

Commitments are formalised through individual participation agreements with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and the Łutsel Kʼe Dene First Nation.

We have a socioeconomic monitoring agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories, which was also signed by all 5 Indigenous partners. 

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

Community Contribution Program

Aimed at serving and strengthening the communities of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and West Kitkimeot, we provide support through our community contribution program. The key priority areas of the program 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 region of Nunavut.

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 supporting the communities, including our 5 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 programs.

We support a scholarship fund (with 3 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.

Apply for a YCF scholarships →

We also support scholarships for students who are entering post-secondary studies nominated by P.W Kaeser High School in Fort Smith, Diamond Jenness Secondary School in Hay River, St. Patrick High School and Ecole Sir John Franklin High School in Yellowknife. 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.

Apply for an Aurora College scholarships →

Additionally, through our Participation Agreements, we are providing scholarship funds to our community partners to administer for their members. Please speak to your community representative or contact Diavik at diavikcommunities@riotinto.com if you are unsure of who to contact locally.

Sourcing locally

Diavik continues to focus on partnering with Northern businesses and, in so doing, ensures major benefits flow to local enterprises, many of which are Indigenous. 

As of year-end 2022, Diavik spent $7.1 billion with Northern businesses, or over 72% of the total business spend of $9.9 billion. Of this, $3.6 billion has been spent with Northern Indigenous businesses and their joining ventures.

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 grizzly 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 despite its apparent abundance, water is a precious resource. 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 remains a staple in the diets of many Indigenous people. These and other environmental factors were carefully considered 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 programs include incorporating traditional knowledge from local communities. We work with our Indigenous partners to ensure that water is healthy and safe – not only from a Western science perspective, but also from a traditional cultural-use perspective. The work was based on years of input from Diavik’s Traditional Knowledge Panel, which consists of one female Elder, one male Elder, and one youth selected by each of Diavik’s 5 Indigenous stakeholder groups.

For example, the mine’s Aquatic Effects Monitoring program was designed by community members to evaluate fish health and water quality using traditional indicators. As part of this program, 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.

Land agreements 

We are committed to ensuring local communities benefit from the sustainable development of the mine and these commitments are formalised through individual participation agreements with the: Tłı̨chǫ Government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and the Łutsel Kʼe Dene First Nation.  

We have entered into an Environmental Agreement with local Indigenous groups, the federal government, and territorial governments. Concluded in March 2000, the agreement formalises 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. 

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