De Beers Canada: The Attawapiskat Context
(9 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
De Beers, a sophisticated, international mining company, operated the Victor Mine, an open pit diamond mine in Canada, located within traditional territory claimed by the Attawapiskat First Nation. To develop the mine, De Beers had to follow provincial and federal legislation, meet environmental standards, and most importantly, negotiate use of the land with the First Nation. Although the mine was successful, the First Nation community was suffering with health, education, and housing issues; rampant unemployment; and a remarkably high rate of suicide among its youth. Benefits negotiated in the mining agreement were not resolving the problems, despite the provision of employment opportunities and payment of millions of dollars to the First Nation. In frustration, the First Nation set up road blockades to stop work at the mine. De Beers now wanted to extend their mining operation by using a mine extension, but to do that, they had to seek further agreement from the Attawapiskat. Did the history of First Nations in Canada affect their relationship with De Beers? Were the stakeholders meeting their responsibilities? What lessons could be applied to negotiations for future developments?
The case deals with the complex nature of corporate social responsibility and is written for a graduate course in strategy, organizational behaviour, sustainable development, or ethics. The case examines the development and results of an impact benefit agreement between De Beers and the Attawapiskat to illustrate the complex nature of relationships between resource companies and Indigenous communities. The case raises questions regarding the responsibility of governments, mining companies, and the communities themselves in their quest for social and economic development. Historical context is considered, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the community and De Beers are evaluated. Using this case will help students to
- understand the context for community and economic development of Indigenous communities;
- identify CSR processes and outcomes for resource development companies; and
- define government responsibility with resource development on Indigenous lands.
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
Canada, Large, 2016
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