The De Beers Canada Victor Mine
Credits: QMI AGENCY
"We've got guys on the ground" who were meeting with the demonstrators, Tom Ormbsy, director of external and corporate affairs, told QMI Agency Monday night.
The "core individuals" behind this latest blockade were not among those involved in last week's four-day demonstration, Ormsby said.
According to information Ormsby received, the core participants were "two or three individuals who were possibly joined on the picket line by some family members."
As was the case last week, Monday night's blockade was preventing supplies from reaching the mine but not posing any interruption in its operation. The Victor mine had had to deal with with demonstrations and blockades on the winter ice road occasionally over its five years of operation.
Ormsby said typically demonstrators have very specific personal demands and their actions are generally not supported by the community at large."We have never seen an action that has been a community-supported action," he said.
"Our experience has always been these have been individuals who brought these forward over the years and it's usually about a very specific concern they have as individuals. Some are looking for employment for the first time, some are looking to be re-employed, maybe they were there previously. It's not always about someone who has been dismissed. It may have been someone who worked in construction and wants to try get on in the operations."
In the latest demonstration, Ormsby said, "It appears the early indication is that these are completely different issues from last week, but similar in the sense that these are very individual and very specific requests.
"It is not a community action." He said the protests have not been an effective way to circumvent the hiring process.
"Anybody who is bringing anything forward has to go through a process that is fair for everybody."
Often the resolution is focused on "sharing information with them on how best they can move forward with the issue they've brought forward," said Ormsby.
"Not everyone understands the protocols that are available throughout the IBA (Impact Benefit Agreement) or other means, so it's not about doing this and getting the upper hand on somebody. People still have to follow the process or else the process falls apart. Sometimes it means we have to spend a bit more time working with someone so they understand that. It can never be a system where people are jumping the queue to get personal gains."
Last week's blockade involved about 16 demonstrators. That one started last Monday night and was resolved early Thursday.