Canadian Diamonds Assessment
In 1999, the Diavik Socio-Economic Monitoring Agreement established preferential hiring practices for Aboriginal and local workers. This agreement also established a skilled labor apprenticeship program to help provide training for Aboriginal workers. Compliance with this agreement is monitored by an Advisory Board staffed primarily by representatives of the Aboriginal tribes. In 2006, the Diavik mine employed 497 workers from northern NWT, including 243 people of Aboriginal affiliation, out of a total work force of 735. In addition to direct employment, the mine has made purchases of over $1 billion from Aboriginal businesses and over $1.9 billion from Northern NWT businesses.
A nascent diamond cutting and polishing industry is also growing in Yellowknife. Notably, one cutting and polishing company is owned by the Yellowknife Dene First Nation, one of the principal Aboriginal tribes. As a result, Yellowknife is doing better on a range of indicators. Between 2000 and 2006, the average income in Yellowknife increased 21%, the unemployment rate has dropped by 4.8%, and high school graduation rates have increased 15%.
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