De Beers seeks legal action over Attwapiskat blockades

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is seen with fellow hunger striker Elder Raymond Robinson



De Beers diamond mine officials said they are asking a Timmins judge Friday afternoon for a court injunction to put an end to the illegal blockades that have prevented supplies from entering the company's northern Ontario mine off and on for nearly two weeks.

Officials from the Victor mine said they last met with community leaders Thursday afternoon to arrange for the latest blockade to cease. After they learned the blockade was not coming down, protesters were presented with papers of the mine's intention to get a court injunction, mine spokesman Tom Ormsby said in an e-mail Friday morning.

Ormsby said if the blockade continues on the winter road it could "jeopardize the health and safety of our employees and the future of the mine."

The road generally provides a 45-day window to deliver supplies and equipment needed by the mine for the next year.

Ormsby said the disruptions pose a threat to those supplies and are adding costs, which could have severe consequences on the mine's future. These supplies include vehicles, equipment, oil and fuel.

The Victor mine project is about 90 km from the embattled First Nations community of Attawapiskat. Chief Theresa Spence has not responded to requests for comment.

Many in the First Nations community believe they are being cheated out of the diamond mine's profits, despite an impact-benefit agreement signed after several years of negotiation.

The mine is in its fifth year of operation and is expected to continue until 2018.

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