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NEWS: Attawapiskat blockade of mine could continue into the spring

Victor Mine. Photo by De Beers Canada.

Victor Mine. Photo by De Beers Canada.

APTN reports, “An Attawapiskat blockade of a winter road leading to a diamond mine operated by De Beers could last until spring and expand to the company’s airport, says Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. Spence said the handful of protestors who launched the blockade on Monday said they won’t end their protest until they get some concrete changes to the impact benefit agreement (IBA) between Attawapiskat and De Beers. …’The IBA is really not working for us…There are some things we need to work and improve the IBA,’ said Spence.”

“‘The people who are blocking have a lot of concerns,’ said Spence, who is currently on sick leave and recovering from her six week-long protest fast. She said their list of concerns include what they believe to be discrimination and racism at the mine, lack of employment opportunities and training programs, compensation for lost traplines and a clause in the impact benefit agreement between De Beers and Attawapiskat that absolves the company from having to fork over compensation for ‘unpredictable impacts’ the mine could have on the environment.”

Danny Metatawabin, who was a spokesperson for Chief Spence during her 44-day hunger-strike, says, “It seems that we still have a lot of outstanding issues or unresolved issues stemming from the day the mine operations began (almost five years ago) up to this day. There has been a lot of disgruntlement against employee terminations or descrimination issues, racism issues, even the fact that there are certain families that have traditional territories within the boundries or close to the Victor site.”

To read an earlier blog ‘NEWS: Blockade of De Beers diamond mine in Attawapiskat underway’, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19172. That blog highlights concerns about employment and revenue generated by the mine, as well as the environmental impacts and sludge spills into homes resulting from the mine. Today’s APTN article is at http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/02/06/attawapiskat-diamond-mine-blockade-continues-protesters-eye-de-beers-airport/.