Post Devolution-Landmark: The Department of Lands makes first decision on environmental assessment for NWT Diamond Mine

Nov 3 2014

YELLOWKNIFE (November 3, 2014) – Minister of Lands Robert C. McLeod announced today that the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)has adopted the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board’s (MVEIRB) recommendation to allow De Beers Canada Inc. to proceed with a request for amendments to its current water licence for the Snap Lake Diamond Mine.

“This is the first environmental assessment done since devolution transferred responsibility for land and resources to the GNWT,” said Minister McLeod. “Our thorough review and timely decision proves that Northerners know their own priorities and should be the ones deciding how NWT resources are developed and our land and environment are protected.”

MVEIRB released its Report of Environmental Assessment recommending that the Snap Lake water licence amendment proceed to the regulatory phase on September 5, 2014. The Minister acknowledged the board for their role, “I would like to thank MVEIRB for the thorough and comprehensive review that was conducted.”

The Department of Lands has a coordinating role on behalf of the GNWT for all processes related to environmental assessment under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA). As part of devolution, the federal government delegated authority to sign environmental assessment decisions for projects on non-federal land to the Minister of Lands.

The Department of Lands worked jointly with staff from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop a recommended consensus decision letter. This decision-making process was shared jointly between the two departments.

De Beers had previously applied to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board for 17 amendments to the Type A water licence for its operating Snap Lake mine. Specific proposed amendments to the water licence meant the request had to be referred to MVEIRB.

Media Inquiries

Brenda Norris
Media Liaison
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-669-2302