Diavik community

Diavik Communities

Keeping Each Other Safe

COVID-19 Update

11 September 2020

We are taking action to help keep our employees, contractors and communities safe at our operation in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

We continue to proactively implement measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19 on our site, including mandatory COVID-19 testing, health screening (eg phone calls with medical professionals prior to travel), enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures, roster and flight changes, and the use of masks.

We are following the guidance of the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and we are working closely with our community and government stakeholders.

Our priority is the health and safety of our employees and our communities. We recognise that these are unprecedented circumstances and have taken significant steps to protect against the risk of COVID-19 on our site and in our communities. 

Richard Storrie, President and COO, Diavik Diamond Mine

Here are some of the measures we are taking to help protect our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and community:

Health Assessments

  • Employees are required to practice physical distancing and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days prior to travelling to Diavik. All employees must complete self-monitoring forms, and anyone who is unwell is asked not to come to work.
  • Within five days of scheduled travel, leaders connect with employees, usually by phone, to review any new requirements and confirm their adherence to distancing and monitoring requirements.
  • Within three days of scheduled travel, employees call a health assessment hotline to speak with a medical professional and complete a health screening and symptom check. Employees must receive clearance from the hotline before arriving at airports.
  • A second health screening, including temperature check, is performed at all airports prior to boarding. Individuals must receive clearance from the hotline or are denied boarding.

Travel

  • All employees residing outside of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are restricted from using multi-person public transportation during the 14 days prior to arriving at Diavik, including travel to airports.
  • Charter flights fly directly from points of pick up across Canada to eliminate the use of commercial flights. Flights that originate in the south do not stop anywhere else in the Northwest Territories and only land at Diavik.
  • We require all employees to use facial barriers or masks from leaving their homes until two days after they arrive at Diavik.
  • We separate incoming and outgoing passengers during crew changes at site and at airports.

COVID-19 Testing On-site

  • We have established an on-site, temporary laboratory to test our workforce for COVID-19 using nasopharyngeal swabs (polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing).
  • Our on-site lab allows us to collect and process samples in the most efficient way and provides a precautionary measure to protect the health of our employees and Northwest Territories communities.
  • We prioritise analysing tests from high-risk areas first.
  • Employees continue to wear masks at all times, unless they are eating, drinking, smoking or alone in their rooms or offices, until all results have been returned from the laboratory.
  • Presumptive positive results from our on-site testing are sent to an external provincial laboratory for confirmation.

Temporary Clinic and Isolation Area

  • In addition to the existing medical facilities, we have opened a temporary clinic and isolation area in our South Camp.
  • We also have a dedicated dorm as an isolation ward to manage employees suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been exposed to people who have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Employees who are placed in isolation have access to a medical team at all times.
  • Our newly established support team provides them with meal delivery, laundry services and helps address any other needs they may have.
  • We have created a dedicated walking path to safely allow those in isolation to access fresh air for both their health and mental wellbeing.

Physical Distancing

Whether working, eating or exercising, employees keep their distance:

  • We have moved tables to ensure conversations happen at a distance.
  • We have limited face-to-face meetings and encouraged the use of digital tools like WebEx to reduce physical meetings and travel between buildings.
  • During meal times, we have physically separated the dining hall to allow for flow of traffic and distancing between people.
  • Gymnasiums and common exercise areas have been closed or modified to prevent cross contamination and allow for at least two metres of separation.
  • 17 July 2020 Update

    We are taking action to help keep our employees, contractors and communities safe across our operations in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

    We continue to proactively implement measures to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 on our site, including additional health screening, enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures, roster and flight changes, and the use of masks for employees during travel.

    We are following the guidance of the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and we are working closely with our community and government stakeholders.

    Our priority is the health and safety of our employees and our communities. We recognise that these are unprecedented circumstances and have taken significant steps to protect against the risk of COVID-19 on our site and in our communities.

    Richard Storrie, President and COO, Diavik Diamond Mine

    Here are some of the measures we are taking to help protect our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and community:

    Health assessments

    • We have established an on-site, temporary laboratory to test our workforce for COVID-19 through the use of nasal and/or throat swabs. This acts as an additional precautionary measure to protect the health of our employees and Northwest Territories communities.
    • Employees are required to practice physical distancing and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days prior to travelling to Diavik. All employees must complete self-monitoring forms, and anyone who is unwell is asked not to come to work.
    • Within three days of scheduled travel, employees call a health assessment hotline to speak with a medical professional and complete a health screening and symptom check. Employees must receive clearance from the hotline before arriving at airports.
    • A second health screening is performed at all airports prior to boarding. Individuals must receive clearance from the hotline or are denied boarding.

    Travel

    • All employees residing outside of the NWT/NU are restricted from using multi-person public transportation during the 14 days prior to arriving at Diavik, including travel to airports.
    • We have arranged charter flights from points of pick up across Canada to eliminate the use of commercial flights.
    • All employees are required to use facial barriers or masks from leaving their homes until they arrive at Diavik.
    • We separate incoming and outgoing passengers during crew changes at site and at airports.
    • We have rearranged crew changes to allow for 14 days between flights.

    Hand hygiene

    • Hand sanitising stations are available in high traffic areas.
    • We have added hand-washing stations in the dining room, with visual cues to help maintain physical distance.
    • Educational materials are available in key areas.

    Cleaning

    • We have appointed leaders as hygiene champions to ensure good hygiene practices
    • Increased cleaning of lunchrooms, meeting rooms and food preparation areas
    • Use of cleaning agents that meet the requirements for effectively sanitising against COVID-19
    • Cleaning of buses and aircraft between trips, and of light vehicles as part of the pre-start walk around
    • Light vehicle cleaning as part of pre-start walk around
    • More frequent cleaning of:
      • Recreation, communal, entertainment areas
      • Dining and lunch rooms
      • Washrooms and mine dry (change rooms)
      • Stairways including handrails

    Kitchen and dining hall

    • All food is served (no self-service) or provided in single use packaging to prevent the spread of germs through utensils or cross contamination.
    • During meal times, the dining hall has been physically separated for flow of traffic and distancing between people.
    • This flow ensures all employees are hand washing prior to entering the dining hall.
    • Chairs have been removed from the cafeteria and critical common areas to ensure employees stay 2 metres apart.

    Physical distancing – at work

    • While working and during breaks, employees keep their distance. Tables have been moved to ensure conversations happen at a distance.
    • Face-to-face meetings have been limited. We have encouraged the use of digital tools like WebEx to reduce meetings and travel between buildings.

    Physical distancing - recreation

    • Gymnasiums and common exercise areas have been closed or modified to prevent cross contamination and allow for at least 2 metres of separation.
    • Each exercise area has a supply of cleaning products for use before and after exercising.
    • Squash courts and sauna have been closed.
    • Team sports have been cancelled, however single player badminton is allowed.

    Temporary clinic

    In addition to the existing medical facilities, we have opened a temporary clinic and isolation area in the South Camp:

    • Isolation procedures are in place. We also have a dedicated dorm as an isolation ward to manage employees suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been exposed to people who have COVID-19 symptoms.
    • We have set up a temporary clinic in the South Camp to care for anyone moved to isolation.
  • 10 April 2020 Update

    There are many things we are doing to keep our employees, contractors and communities safe across our operations in the Northwest Territories. 

    Safety, health and wellbeing is our number one priority. We are following federal and territorial government guidance, complying with NWT Chief Public Health Office orders, as well as advice from medical experts. Here are some of the measures we’re taking:

    • Increased frequency of cleaning of facilities, work areas/stations, vehicles, lunchrooms, food prep areas and high-touch areas
    • Mandatory cleaning of gym equipment and visual cues to ensure physical distancing during recreation implemented 
    • Implemented return to work protocols, including a health screening questionnaire, health assessment hotline, airport screening and requiring medical clearance for anyone who has felt unwell
    • Increased physical distancing procedures for team meetings, recreational and dining areas, including visual cues to ensure implementation
    • Limited the number of people travelling together in planes, on buses and in small vehicles
    • Provided training and educational information on proper hand washing techniques, physical distancing and self-isolation requirements
    • Conducting COVID-19 business resilience meetings
    • Leadership split shifts to cover 24/7 support, meetings by video conference
    • All employees who can perform their responsibilities remotely have been asked to work from home 
    • Service for employees to return home for health or family emergencies, if required
    • Employee assistance program to support our employees’, and their family members, mental health

    Our goal is to keep our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, and their families safe and healthy while sustaining operations.

    Over the past few weeks, we’ve all experienced significant change – change in our families and communities, at work and around the world. By working together, our teams have managed to implement precautionary measures across site, change entire rosters and schedules. In just a few short weeks, we’ve adapted to a new normal and we did so safely.

    Richard Storrie, President and COO, Diavik Diamond Mine

    Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) and Other Travel

    We have halted all non-essential work-related travel and, instead, have asked teams to connect in other ways, such as WebEx or Skype. And most of our office based teams are working from home.

    We have also changed our FIFO roster to protect our people and communities, implementing the following measures:

    • Taking proactive steps to protect small communities by eliminating travel to and from these communities, and ensuring employees and contractors who reside in twelve isolated communities in the Northwest Territories receive paid leave
    • Reducing site access and frequency of flights (only essential personnel at site)
    • Transporting all personnel to site on charter flights through terminals that are not part of the main airports, and denying access to those that have taken any form of public transportation prior to their flight
    • Pre-screening and temperature testing before flights for all workforce members going to site

    We will continue to monitor the situation, and introduce further key measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as needed.

    FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ACROSS OUR BUSINESS >

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. 

C$6.0B

Economic Contribution

C$370.6M

Local Procurement

C$383.5K

Community Investment

2019 figures. Economic contribution figure is for period 2000 - 2019.

  • 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 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 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.

Scholarships

We provide financial assistance for northerners pursuing their education goals through a variety of scholarship programs. 

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.

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

Applications for our two scholarship programs, Children of Diavik Employees and Post-secondary Scholarships, are accepted annually in August.

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

Sourcing Locally

In 2018, 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, 75% of our spending, or $329.1 million, was with Northern businesses – an increase over the $283.6 million spent with northern companies in 2017.

This was above our target of at least 70% of total purchases of goods and services being procured through local northern businesses. Of this 2018 northern spend, $158.4 million was with northern Indigenous businesses – an increase over the $148 million spent in 2017.

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. 

We Fish Today, For Fish Tomorrow

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. 

Keeping Each Other Safe

COVID-19 Update

11 September 2020

We are taking action to help keep our employees, contractors and communities safe at our operation in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

We continue to proactively implement measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19 on our site, including mandatory COVID-19 testing, health screening (eg phone calls with medical professionals prior to travel), enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures, roster and flight changes, and the use of masks.

We are following the guidance of the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and we are working closely with our community and government stakeholders.

Our priority is the health and safety of our employees and our communities. We recognise that these are unprecedented circumstances and have taken significant steps to protect against the risk of COVID-19 on our site and in our communities. 

Richard Storrie, President and COO, Diavik Diamond Mine

Here are some of the measures we are taking to help protect our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and community:

Health Assessments

  • Employees are required to practice physical distancing and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days prior to travelling to Diavik. All employees must complete self-monitoring forms, and anyone who is unwell is asked not to come to work.
  • Within five days of scheduled travel, leaders connect with employees, usually by phone, to review any new requirements and confirm their adherence to distancing and monitoring requirements.
  • Within three days of scheduled travel, employees call a health assessment hotline to speak with a medical professional and complete a health screening and symptom check. Employees must receive clearance from the hotline before arriving at airports.
  • A second health screening, including temperature check, is performed at all airports prior to boarding. Individuals must receive clearance from the hotline or are denied boarding.

Travel

  • All employees residing outside of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are restricted from using multi-person public transportation during the 14 days prior to arriving at Diavik, including travel to airports.
  • Charter flights fly directly from points of pick up across Canada to eliminate the use of commercial flights. Flights that originate in the south do not stop anywhere else in the Northwest Territories and only land at Diavik.
  • We require all employees to use facial barriers or masks from leaving their homes until two days after they arrive at Diavik.
  • We separate incoming and outgoing passengers during crew changes at site and at airports.

COVID-19 Testing On-site

  • We have established an on-site, temporary laboratory to test our workforce for COVID-19 using nasopharyngeal swabs (polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing).
  • Our on-site lab allows us to collect and process samples in the most efficient way and provides a precautionary measure to protect the health of our employees and Northwest Territories communities.
  • We prioritise analysing tests from high-risk areas first.
  • Employees continue to wear masks at all times, unless they are eating, drinking, smoking or alone in their rooms or offices, until all results have been returned from the laboratory.
  • Presumptive positive results from our on-site testing are sent to an external provincial laboratory for confirmation.

Temporary Clinic and Isolation Area

  • In addition to the existing medical facilities, we have opened a temporary clinic and isolation area in our South Camp.
  • We also have a dedicated dorm as an isolation ward to manage employees suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been exposed to people who have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Employees who are placed in isolation have access to a medical team at all times.
  • Our newly established support team provides them with meal delivery, laundry services and helps address any other needs they may have.
  • We have created a dedicated walking path to safely allow those in isolation to access fresh air for both their health and mental wellbeing.

Physical Distancing

Whether working, eating or exercising, employees keep their distance:

  • We have moved tables to ensure conversations happen at a distance.
  • We have limited face-to-face meetings and encouraged the use of digital tools like WebEx to reduce physical meetings and travel between buildings.
  • During meal times, we have physically separated the dining hall to allow for flow of traffic and distancing between people.
  • Gymnasiums and common exercise areas have been closed or modified to prevent cross contamination and allow for at least two metres of separation.