Attawapiskat blockades remain in place despite court injunction: De Beers

The De Beers diamond mine near Attawapiskat


Blockades that have prevented De Beers from sending supplies to its northern Ontario diamond mine remain in place Monday, despite a court injunction prohibiting anyone from interfering with the company's access and use of the winter road to the mine, the company said.

The blockades have prevented supplies from entering the Victor mine on and off for roughly two weeks.
De Beers asked a Timmins judge for a court injunction Friday afternoon.

Early Sunday, a sheriff posted a copy of the injunction at the blockade, but the blockade was still in place as of Monday morning, company spokesman Tom Ormsby said in an e-mail.

De Beers hopes to hear that the blockade is removed and that the company's convoys will be able to have safe, uninterrupted access to the winter road for the rest of the season, Ormsby said.

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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