Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 561

561 Arctic Yearbook 2014 workforce in Diavak, employing indigenous and northerners at all levels of production, while in 2008 unemployment stood at 5.4% – a remarkable feat when compared to 17.4% in 2001 (Up Here Business 2008: 28) or 13.7% in 1999. Similarly, transfer payments account for 70% of the territories total expected revenue, again down from closer to 80%, or more, in previous decades. Indeed, the diamond mines are estimated by some locals to provide for as many as 2000 jobs region-wide, and have significantly changed the perception of locals towards their ability to become regionally self-sufficient, decreasing welfare dependency and creating the potential for a more materially affluent standard of living. There is, however, a very real problem in that every group, from indigenous governments to industry, recognizes, which is that the nature of the diamond industry is not sustainable. Jobs created by diamond mines, and the boom in construction, infrastructure development and ancillary economic activities to expand a growing and more affluent population is limited. Estimates of 20 to 40 years are given, depending upon the ability of the major corporate players like De Beers, Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton to maintain diamond mining activities in the face of a volatile global market and in the face of what may be increasingly expensive underground mining activities rather than open pit or surface pipe mining operations. So the issue of sustainability remains a difficult one, but as far as sharing the wealth, a new landscape is emerging. Several types of agreements in place which attempt to change the exploitative nature of mining itself. These are the social and economic agreements negotiated with governments, and the IBAs (Impact Benefit Agreements) negotiated with individual communities, where, unlike the co-management boards, indigenous groups are ready and able to enter into negotiations directly with corporate investors, to gather some of the benefits of development on impact (and often even on non-impact) lands. This is an area in which Canadian Studies scholars are only beginning to invest time and effort. Similarly, the relationship between co-management boards and decision-making is also emerging as a research area. Co-management boards appeared to pave the way for future development for indigenous populations, although few scholars were sufficiently versed in the complexity of these agre [Y[