Reproduction Rights Organization

Ron Mulholland wrote this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The author does not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The author may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality. This publication may not be transmitted, photocopied, digitized or otherwise reproduced in any form or by any means without the permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 0N1; (t) 519.661.3208; (e); Copyright © 2016, Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation Version: 2016-10-21The De Beers’ Victor Mine was a diamond mine located 90 kilometres west of the James Bay Cree community of Attawapiskat. By May 2016, there had been a great deal of press coverage regarding the relationship between the two groups. The Victor Mine was nearing the end of its production, and De Beers was contemplating whether to operate the Tango Extension, a nearby deposit that could use the processing facilities existing at Victor Mine. De Beers had to consult the nearby First Nations communities, including Attawapiskat, to gain approval to proceed with exploration and bulk sampling. Did the history of Attawapiskat First Nation (Attawapiskat) affect the relationship with De Beers? Could past discussions with the community have been conducted differently to reduce conflict? What lessons could be applied to the discussion surrounding the Tango Extension and other future developments? THE VICTOR MINE The Victor Mine opened in 2008 following a lengthy period of exploration. It was Ontario’s first diamond mine, and although the deposit would be completely exploited within 12 years, the diamonds were of above- average value; therefore, De Beers decided to proceed with mining. Approximately CA$1 billion2 was spent on developing the open-pit mine and processing and support facilities. The projected value of the diamonds to be mined over the mine’s life was close to $3 billion.3 De Beers had signed agreements with four First Nations communities including Attawapiskat, which was closest to the mine. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) in conjunction with an exploration agreement was the first formal agreement with Attawapiskat; later, an impact benefit agreement (IBA) was signed. An IBA typically conferred monetary and other benefits to the signatory community.

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