Honouring Indigenous perspectives through engagement and collaboration

Effective engagement with local communities and Ekati mine Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) partners is essential in helping Burgundy Diamond Mines understand concerns, meet challenges together and collaborate to incorporate traditional knowledge into our plans. The recent meetings on March 12 to 14, 2024, included many practical and valuable conversations for building relationships in support of extending life of mine efforts at Ekati and expedite the regulatory process. Burgundy also incorporates various input from stakeholders to efficiently manage other programs such as wildlife monitoring, aquatics activities, and improving northern and Indigenous employment opportunities.

Burgundy has four IBAs for Ekati mine with the Hamlet of Kugluktuk and Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Akaitcho Treaty 8 Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation, Tłıchǫ Government, and North Slave Métis Alliance. The IBAs set the foundation for managing both the impacts and benefits associated with the Ekati mine development with the use of Indigenous lands and ensure economic benefits for traditional land users and neighbouring Indigenous communities in proximity to the mine site.

Burgundy’s existing mine plan at Ekati extends through to 2028, with the Point Lake Project approved and ready to go into production later this year. We have the fourth-largest diamond endowment on the planet, and there are very real options for future project additions to the mine plan to extend mine life beyond 2028. Some of the options include continued operations of the Misery underground mine at greater depth; alternatives for the expansion of the Point Lake Project; exploring underground options at Sable and Fox pits; and optimizing diamond resources recovery by processing the remaining stockpiles from Fox pit.

Engagements and collaboration with IBA partners and local communities are instrumental in realizing these five conceptual projects and have been progressing under Burgundy’s new leadership since the acquisition of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company in July 2023.

Jeff Reinson, Vice-President of Operations at Burgundy, said “Our next big focus is the Sable Underground Project. If approved, it will extend the operating life of Ekati mine and increase cashflow and time available for evaluation, permitting, and implementation of additional development projects.”

The Sable Underground Project is planned as an integrated extension of mining operations at the Sable site, similar to Burgundy’s current underground operations at the Misery site. The project will link to existing site-wide infrastructure and requires approximately two years of development activities beginning in 2024, followed by underground ore extraction planned for five years beginning in 2026. Application for the project is expected to be filed with the Wek’èezhı̀ı Land and Water Board mid-April 2024.

Shelia Chernys, Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities at Burgundy, said “Input from our communities is crucial to the success of the project and Ekati’s future growth plans. We are committed to transparent communication and collaboration with community leaders, members and IBA partners.”

To continue developing these relationships, in March a team of Burgundy senior leaders, HR, community engagement, and operations representatives, visited the communities of Kugluktuk in Nunavut and Łutsel K’e and Behchokǫ̀ in Northwest Territories (NWT).

“Several members of our leadership team have meaningful prior connections to the North. It has been great to renew these rapports and to meet with community leaders and Indigenous partners, to strengthen our relationships and share Burgundy’s future development plans as the new owner of the Ekati mine,” said Reinson.

The visiting Burgundy team
The visiting Burgundy team (left to right): Jeff Reinson (Vice-President of Operations); Kurtis Trefry (Team Leader, Environmental Management and Reporting); Mike Sluggett (Senior Manager, Fixed Asset and Planning); Brittney Flaig (HR Business Partner); Sheila Chernys (Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities); Lindsay Seier (Senior Advisor, Environment); Eric Ingle (Vice-President of Corporate Development); Nicholas Ballantyne (Team Lead, Communities).


Hamlet of Kugluktuk

Situated on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, the Hamlet of Kugluktuk is located the furthest North out of the four IBA groups in the Territory of Nunavut. Arriving by plane from Yellowknife, NWT, the Burgundy team met with Mayor Ryan Nivingalok and council members. The purposes of the meeting were introducing the Burgundy team, discussing the purchase of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company by Burgundy in July 2023, presenting future growth plans for Ekati mine, and addressing any questions regarding the Sable Underground Project.

During the meeting with Kugluktuk leaders there were discussions about plans for another potential visit this summer, further involving Burgundy’s attendance at community events and organizing a public meeting to collaborate, consult and meet with Kugluktuk community members.

Meeting in Hamlet of Kugluktuk
Members of our Burgundy team attended a meeting with Hamlet of Kugluktuk Mayor Ryan Nivingalok and council members and covered a variety of topics regarding projects at Ekati and in the community.


Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation

Located on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake in Northwest Territories, Łutsel K’e is accessible only by air, boat or snowmobile. The Burgundy team flew in from Yellowknife to meet with Chief James Marlowe for the first time and talk about upcoming plans at Ekati mine.

“We covered a variety of topics during the course of our meeting, including the development of the Sable Underground Project and permitting application, which I think gave us a lot of information and ideas for projects we can do in the community in the future,” said Chernys. “We also discussed facilitating an Ekati site visit for Łutsel K’e’s leadership this summer and got invited back for a public meeting with community members. Overall, I think it was a very positive visit that set the foundation for further engagement work and relationship building.”

Meeting with Chief James Marlowe in Łutsel K’e
The Burgundy team met with Chief James Marlowe and council for the first time in Łutsel K’e to discuss future plans for Ekati Diamond Mine.



While conducting the two-day visits between Kugluktuk and Łutsel K’e, the Burgundy team was invited to attend the Learning and Working Together Tłıchǫ Gathering in Behchokǫ̀. With a population of about 2,000 people, Behchokǫ̀ is the largest Dene community in the Northwest Territories and serves as the headquarters of the Tłıchǫ Government, the largest of the four IBA groups.

The two-day event included an opening fire ceremony, drummers and prayer, followed by a trades entrance practice exam and a resource and career Fair. Different workshop sessions were also available, including resume writing, learning about various trades, and mock-interview practice.

Burgundy contributed a $5,000 donation and a booth to the event, where Burgundy’s HR representative fielded questions from community members about jobs at Ekati mine and encouraged the young adults in attendance to consider careers in mining.

“Community organized events such as the Learning and Working Together Gathering are important from a recruitment perspective, but also offer the opportunity to interact directly with people, build relationships and celebrate their achievements.” said Reinson. “These interactions are invaluable to building our future workforce at Ekati.”

Burgundy is committed to maintaining the relationships that have been built over the years with northern communities and local and territorial organizations. We will continue to engage with our IBA partners regarding the Ekati Mine Engagement Plan, while delivering on our regulatory commitments and building future value for our shareholders.

Burgundy’s Eric Ingle, Vice-President of Corporate Development and Sheila Chernys, Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities participated in the opening fire ceremony to kick off the Learning and Working Together Tłıchǫ Gathering in Behchokǫ̀.

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