Burgundy Diamond Mines is committed to progressive and sustainable mining practices. Ekati Diamond Mine, our world-renowned cornerstone asset in Canada’s Northwest Territories complies with strict environmental standards within a regulated environment. Prior to any new development or closure of an existing development consultation with local Indigenous communities and other stakeholders are encouraged to provide input which is considered by regulatory agencies and implemented through the terms and conditions of the approvals.

The Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board, Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada are involved in the regulatory framework to maintain transparency, accountability and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Wildlife monitoring

The Wildlife Management and Monitoring Plan is continually updated to report our wildlife monitoring efforts at Ekati Diamond Mine. Monitoring involves reporting any wildlife incidents, and documenting mitigation effectiveness through remote cameras and routine surveys. Considering the reports on wildlife data, operational work is planned and undertaken in a way that avoids and minimizes wildlife impact. For example, vehicle traffic may be halted, or speeds reduced for haul truck drivers to accommodate safe passage of caribou. The overarching goal is to evaluate mitigation measures and adapt strategies within an adaptive management framework. The wildlife monitoring and mitigation efforts at Ekati Diamond Mine is reviewed and released annually.

To gather important wildlife data, Burgundy Diamond Mines provided funding for the Government of the Northwest Territories’ radio-collaring program for the Beverly and Bathurst caribou herds. The data collected includes a telemetry report with location data, distribution of water bodies, eskers, land cover categories (mostly vegetation types), and insect abundance, which will be used to analyze caribou responses to mine infrastructure with the purpose to address concerns regarding Ekati Diamond Mine’s impact on caribou behavior comprehensively.

Fisheries and Aquatics

The purpose of the Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program is to determine if water discharged from mining activities changes water quality affecting the plants and animals that live in water downstream from Ekati Diamond Mine. The program works as an early warning system by detecting slight changes in the levels of water quality indicators including nutrients, salts, and metals. Early detection allows the Ekati Diamond Mine team to address water quality changes before they have a negative effect in the receiving environment. The three major watersheds are monitored for potential mine activities affects:

  • Koala Watershed, the central watershed near Ekati main camp.
  • King-Cujo Watershed, located near Misery and King Pond Settling Facility.
  • Horseshoe Watershed, located near Sable and Two Rock Sedimentation Pond.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment set water quality variables and benchmark limits that have been set to protect aquatic life.

Water quality variables are monitored at six site specific locations and must stay with in limits to be considered protective of the specific plants and animals that live in the water around Ekati mine site.

The Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board has oversight of fisheries and aquatics programs and has a systematic approach for required responses to action level results as outlined in the water licence. If readings exceed benchmark limits of the program (action level) a response plan for water quality, biological (plankton and benthos), and fish variables must be submitted for stakeholder review and Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board approval.

Waste management

Our commitment to sustainability is evident in our waste management practices, which prioritize environmental protection and resource conservation. The dedicated Waste Management Team plays a vital role in Ekati’s waste management plan, which aims to maintain a safe workplace while minimizing adverse effects on the environment and wildlife.

The waste management plan emphasizes a holistic approach to waste management, focusing on waste reduction at the source as the most effective strategy. Through inventory control, purchasing practices, and hazardous materials management procedures, we strive to minimize waste generation. Additionally, the company promotes reuse and recycling, ensuring that materials are repurposed whenever possible to conserve resources and reduce energy consumption. We also look for innovative ways to reduce burnable waste. For example, in 2015 we invested in an in-vessel composter that both minimizes fuel consumption and reduces transportation costs associated with waste disposal. 

We have implemented various initiatives to enhance recycling efforts, including the introduction of receptacles for dangerous goods and plastics across the site. By recovering materials and energy from waste products and treating waste on-site to mitigate environmental impacts, Ekati demonstrates its commitment to responsible waste management. 

Planned and Progressive reclamation

Ensuring we meet our obligations for reclaiming the land to a viable and, where practical, a self-sustaining ecosystem that is compatible with a healthy environment is guaranteed through surety bonds. These bonds are held by reputable insurance providers, surety holders, to ensure reclamation is fully funded and the required financial commitment is available in the for each area that becomes part of an active operation at Ekati.

To plan for reclamation at Ekati Diamond Mine research has been ongoing since its inception to address reclamation uncertainties. Through nine research plans, which were approved by the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board in 2011, collect valuable data used to assess discharge processes and the deposition of finely processed kimberlite to ensure compliance with closure criteria. All developments integrate considerations for eventual closure and reclamation, including the waste rock storage area and pit design.

We are committed to operating in a sustainable manner and with the utmost integrity to enhance the positive economic, environmental and social impacts of our business, while maximizing the resources we mine. Our commitment is guided by the principles of social responsibility, environmental stewardship and economic sustainability.

Ekati Plus Community Development Program

Burgundy Diamonds invests in innovative projects that support healthy, vibrant Northern communities through the Ekati Plus Community Development Program. We identify needs and opportunities and invest in viable solutions, helping communities become resilient, resourceful and ready for the future. The Ekati Plus Program assists communities achieve their goals by providing financial assistance or in-kind support for sustainable projects that benefit the people of the North.
To learn more about our application criteria and how submit a proposal for funding, download the Ekati Plus brochure.

Social Impact Stories

Celebrating National Indigenous History Month at Ekati Diamond Mine

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Burgundy Diamond Mines announces 2023 year-end results

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2023 Socio-Economic Agreement Report released highlighting contribution and investment in Canada’s North

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Ekati Plus Post-Secondary Scholarship Program

At Burgundy Diamonds, we are focused on building a stronger North by assisting Northerners to achieve their career goals. An important part of strengthening our workforce in the Northwest Territories is through education, growth and development of Northerners.

Download the application to learn more about the program criteria and how to apply.

Northern and Indigenous Business

Burgundy Diamonds’ is committed to sustainable development in local communities and has four Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) for the Ekati Mine with the Hamlet of Kugluktuk & Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Akaitcho Treaty 8 (Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation), Tlicho Government and North Slave Metis Association.

As per our Socio-Economic Agreement (SEA) and our IBAs, we are committed to supporting Northern and Northern Indigenous businesses in areas of northern spend and employment and we expect our business partners and suppliers to do the same. Where applicable, these aspects shall be considered as part of our standard evaluation process.

Responsible Trade in Diamonds

Burgundy Diamonds’ is committed to ensuring that all aspects of our business – including diamond mining and the sale of rough diamonds – reflect the highest standards of conduct. Canada subscribes to an international system of certification and warranties known as Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and The System of Warranties (SoW). The KPCS is a joint initiative between government, the diamond industry and non-governmental organizations, that imposes extensive requirements on its member countries to enable them to certify the origin of their rough diamonds and prevent illicit or “conflict” diamonds from entering legitimate trade.

The SoW is an extension of KPCS, where members of the diamond trade provide a written guarantee on all invoices that the diamonds are conflict-free. All warranties whether given or received must be audited and reconciled on an annual basis. The SoW provides assurance that diamonds are from conflict-free sources all the way to the diamond jewellery retailer. As Canada subscribes to the KPCS, diamonds from the Ekati Diamond Mine are conflict-free.

Responsible Jewellery Council

Burgundy Diamonds is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council which promotes responsible, ethical, environmental and social practices throughout the diamond chain, from mine to retailer.