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MAC fetes Dominion Diamond and Vale with 2017 TSM Excellence Awards

Companies recognized for their innovative mining sustainability projects

MAC has awarded Dominion Diamond Corporation’s Ekati Diamond Mine and Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Limited’s Voisey’s Bay Mine with the 2017 Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Excellence Awards for their innovative sustainability projects. Dominion Diamond and Vale were recognized with the awards yesterday at the CIM Awards Gala in Montreal.

“Both Dominion Diamond and Vale have been recognized with TSM Excellence Awards for demonstrating how leading mining companies are integrating sustainability into all aspects of their business, from transforming how they process waste on site to how they ship their products to market. We congratulate both companies for successfully finding new opportunities to protect the environment and preserve the traditional cultures of local Indigenous communities, and for inspiring others to follow their lead,” stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC.

Established in 2014, the TSM Excellence Awards include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award.


Dominion Diamond: Transforming Waste Management

Dominion Diamond Corporation purchased the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories in 2013. Since that time, the company has worked to transform how waste is managed at the site to improve sustainability and limit environmental impacts. Various actions throughout the years have significantly reduced the mine’s waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and have inspired communities and other mining companies in the region to follow Dominion’s lead.

In 2013, Dominion started purchasing environmentally-friendly products for the mine, such as corn-oil based garbage bags, sugarcane take-out containers, and compostable disposable utensils to reduce the amount of chlorine-rich plastics in the waste incinerator. The company then restricted incineration to paper and organic waste and launched a two-year educational campaign for all staff on waste management and segregation. Items such as oily rags, glass, plastics, cans, and other recyclables are removed from the mine site and sent for recycling or proper disposal. These actions have prevented nearly 75,000 kilograms of plastics and 193,000 kilograms of oily rags from being incinerated, reducing emissions from the mine’s two incinerators into the environment and keeping them well below federal guidelines.

In 2015, Dominion installed an in-vessel composter—the first mine in Canada’s North to do so. Now, roughly half of organic waste generated at the Ekati mine is composted. By the end of 2016, more than 67,000 kilograms of organic waste has been diverted, reducing GHG emissions by 210 tonnes CO2 equivalent and diesel consumption by 74,000 litres. Thanks to the in-vessel composter, Dominion is often able to shut down one or both incinerators entirely, which has decreased scrubber water consumption by an estimated 25%.

More recently, in 2016, Dominion launched a study to evaluate the use of site-generated compost in reclamation work as a means of adding nutrients to the processed kimberlite and to promote vegetation growth. If the study shows positive results, it will create a new opportunity to transform site-generated waste into a powerful tool in reclamation.

“Dominion takes our responsibility to the environment seriously, as demonstrated through our waste management program, and we are honoured to be recognized for those efforts. We are particularly proud of our teams that have worked so hard to transform how waste is managed at the site to reduce emissions, improve sustainability, and keep the environment clean and safe,” stated Brendan Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Dominion Diamond Corporation.


Vale: Shipping Program Recognizes Inuit Connection to the Land-Fast Sea Ice

The Innu and Inuit on the North Coast of Labrador have a deep cultural connection to the land-fast sea ice. During winter, the ice serves as a transportation route for harvesting and to access other coastal communities. Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine and concentrator operation, which is located in the region, uses Anaktalak Bay shipping route to ship its products and to resupply the site. Top priorities for both the company and the local communities are to ensure shipping has minimal interference with Aboriginal traditional lifestyles and that residents can safely cross the ship’s track. For more than a decade, Vale and local communities and stakeholders have collaborated to achieve these goals, resulting in new and innovative approaches and technologies.

Years before Voisey’s Bay became operational, Vale and the Labrador Inuit Association (now the Nunatsiavut Government) developed a Shipping Agreement, incorporating Inuit traditional knowledge and requiring Inuit involvement to implement. The Winter Shipping Program launched in 2005 when Voisey’s Bay became operational. In 2007, Vale evaluated the program and, based on feedback from the local communities, worked to reduce the time it took to get safely across the ship’s track. Vale worked with Sikumiut Environmental Management, a local Inuit company that had been monitoring and supporting the winter shipping program for Vale, to develop a floating pontoon-type bridge. A prototype was successfully tested and a full system was implemented in 2008. The pontoon bridges are deployed across the ship’s fresh track at key locations along the 40-kilometre shipping route. Reflective markers and signage are added along the route to ensure safe crossing. When the track freezes, additional “ice bridges” are established at other locations. Once safe crossing locations are established, a multi-faceted communications system alerts residents of their locations as well as shipping activity.

Community input has been paramount to the program’s success and is also reflected in other aspects of the agreement. For example, there are two six-week closure periods when shipping cannot take place: in the fall when ice is forming and in the spring when ice is breaking up. Closure periods have also been adjusted to reflect weather conditions and public holidays.

“We are humbled and honoured to be recognized with the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award,” said Jennifer Maki, Executive Director of Base Metals with Vale and CEO of Vale Canada. “This award belongs equally to the Innu and Inuit communities on the North Coast of Labrador. Their shared commitment to collaboration and positive dialogue allowed us to achieve innovative solutions together that address the needs of all concerned.”

This year, a total of 20 nominations were submitted by mining companies that participate in the TSM® initiative, a performance-based program whereby mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The selection committee, comprised of members from the MAC’s national Community of Interest (COI) Advisory Panel, selected the finalists and winners based on criteria such as innovation, involvement of and engagement with communities, and project outcomes. TSM performance was also considered as an indicator of the company’s ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility.

For more information about the TSM Excellence Awards and past winners, please visit


About MAC

The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal and mined oil sands, and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Draker
(613) 233-9392 x225 or

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