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Valentine’s Day Pact with Inuit Firm Gives Jericho Diamond Mine Second Chance

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After a few years of heartache, the first Inuit-owned mining development company has inked a deal to rekindle the Jericho diamond mine, the Nunatsiaq Newsreported on Valentine’s Day.

The Nunavut Resources Corp. signed on with Shear Diamonds Ltd., which bought the mine last year from Tahera Diamond Corp. The latter had started operations in 2006 but filed for bankruptcy in 2008, according to Mining Weekly, a trade journal.

Jericho, Nunavut’s only diamond mine, is in the territory’s Kitikmeot region. The “mutual cooperation agreement,” as a press release called it, was announced by Charlie Evalik, president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA) and chairman of Nunavut Resources Corp., on February 14.

“We are delighted to formalize our growing cooperation with the NRC, through a document that defines Shear’s partnership with the Nunavut Resources Corporation,” said Shear president Pamela Strand in a company statement. “In signing this document, we at Shear are excited to demonstrate our commitment to being an active corporate citizen within the Nunavut community. This alliance has the potential to maximize mutual benefits at the Jericho Diamond Mine or wherever Shear operates in Nunavut.”

The two companies will collaborate on infrastructure and other opportunities associated with the “potential redevelopment” of the Jericho diamond mine, according to the Nunatsiaq News. Nunavut Resources’ goal is to boost Inuit participation and ownership in Nunavut’s major resource developments, the newspaper said, by investing money or developing infrastructure that supports projects.

KIA is using Nunavut Resources to position itself as a “significant player” in managing and developing nonrenewable resources on its Inuit-owned lands, Evalik said last October at KIA’s annual general meeting, so that Inuit can help make decisions over their lands and future, the Nunatsiaq News reported.

“What KIA has come to realize is that Inuit are at risk of becoming the last people to benefit from resource development on their own lands,” Evalik said, according to the paper.