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Ekati diamond mine water licence renewal

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BHP Billiton Canada Inc.

The water licence for the Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories, one of Canada’s largest diamond producers, was due for renewal as of August 2013. The application for renewal was more akin to an application for a new licence as a result of the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board having changed its policy regarding the method and evidence required to set effluent quality criteria (the concentrations of contaminants permitted in effluent). As a result of these changes, the regulatory process took over two years to complete and included a number of technical workshops and a public hearing in the town of Behchoko, NWT. At the end of the day, the Board accepted the company’s arguments regarding a number of key issues, as well as the comprehensive methodology and process Ekati undertook to respond to the Board’s new approach. In August, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development signed the licence, extending its term out to August 2021. Fasken Martineau was counsel to BHP Billiton throughout the regulatory process, including the public hearings, with a team which included Kevin O’Callaghan and Dani Bryant.



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