When Land Can Be Worth More than Diamonds
Prepared by Eric Best
Prepared for Mr. Grieg & Mrs. Chan
March 4th 2012
The Victor Diamond Mine near James Bay in Northern Ontario rose lots of controversy over the environmental, economic, and social issues created by the mine. While the company that owns the mine, De Beers, says that the new mine will bring Canada new revenue and will boost the economy, the people of the Attawapiskat First Nation are in discontent over the failing water quality in regions around the mine. These First nations are extremely unhappy with the way the Victor Diamond Mine deals with its waste, which causes an increase in mercury levels in the Attawapiskat River. Figure 1: an aerial view of the Victor Diamond Mine in James Bay, Ontario. The problem that the Attawapiskat tribe faces is that they have to find away to avoid mercury poisoning in the water that they drink, and the fish that they eat. The Attawapiskat people use the Attawapiskat River for hunting, fishing, and medicinal plants. The mercury is consumed on microscopic levels by bacteria and plankton in the water, which are then consumed by fish. The fish is then either hunted by humans, or consumed by other animals which the first nations may then hunt. When the people eat the meat from the mercury contaminated animals, they are at risk of getting mercury poisoning. This has become a growing issue for the Attawapiskat people, and they want the mine to either stop polluting their river, or shut down the mine. The Victor Diamond Mine also caused many issues in regards to society, politics, and the economy. Many environmentalists are taking the side of the aboriginals so that the mine is forced to make a change because of protesters. On the other hand, a select few of the natives want the mine to stay because it opens up many new positions for jobs. First Nations people are of the most requiring of jobs in Canada. The problem that this...