The Ekati Socio-Economic Agreement set a spending target of 70% for aboriginal people and businesses in the North. In 2006, the mine spent $326 million, or 78% of total spending on Aboriginal and northern businesses. $123 million was spent on goods and services obtained from Northern Aboriginal-owned businesses. This represents 29% of the total expenditure of $418 million. Aboriginal-owned companies and joint ventures have entered into numerous contracts in the mine, including contracts for mining services, explosives and explosives supply, catering, transportation services, concierge and freight transportation services. Ekati helps Aboriginal suppliers enter into joint venture and corporate partnerships, attempts to tender first for IBA suppliers, allows large contracts to be “unbundled” to allow small businesses to compete, and offers local suppliers the opportunity to provide goods and services that may only be available in the South. Contracts with Aboriginal companies since 1999 have amounted to $847 million, or 27 per cent of the mine`s total expenditure. A socio-economic agreement is a follow-up program to the environmental assessment. Only in this way will the GNWT be able to deliver on its promise and responsibility for the judicious use of our natural resources. In 1996, BHP Billiton signed a socio-economic agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories in which the company committed to providing employment, training and business opportunities to Aboriginal people. The mine operator has signed four Impact and Charitable Agreements (IBAs) with regional Aboriginal communities, including the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, Akaitcho Treaty 8, North Slave Metis Alliance and the Inuit of Kugluktuk with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association. While confidential, the agreements include annual cash payments from the mine to municipalities, annual scholarship funds, preferred aboriginal recruitment and business opportunities, and environmental protection measures.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is responsible for negotiating these agreements on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories. They reflect the commitments and predictions made by the company during its environmental assessment, including: the ministry also oversees the implementation of these agreements and coordinates the government`s efforts under each agreement, while monitoring how each company fulfills its respective responsibilities. Ekati`s environmental technicians and scientists monitor dust and emissions to the air through the air quality monitoring program and monitor fish populations, microscopic water-based animals and plants, streams and water samples through the Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program. The company also monitors animals living in the countryside and in the waters within the rental area through the Nature Effects Monitoring Program. In addition, it has funded studies to integrate the region`s traditional knowledge with the mine`s environmental management practices. For example, the Ekati Caribou and Roads Traditionsal Knowledge Project has adapted traditional Inuksuite hunting methods such as building piles of stones to divert caribou from roads and mines around the mine. . . .