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A framework for best practice environmental impact assessment follow-up : a case study of the Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada



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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is broadly defined as a systematic process that proactively examines the potential consequences of development actions. As a planning process, the longer-term objective of EIA is to contribute to sustainable development of the environment. EIA cannot meet its sustainability objective without a systematic follow-up program. Notwithstanding the benefits of a follow-up program, there is little guidance for best practices. The problem is that follow-up programs are not widely implemented in EIA and the lessons learned from experience have not been documented. This research explores the principles and characteristics of best-practice follow-up in an attempt to identify the lessons learned and issues raised from experiences in Canada’s mining resource sector. A normative framework for doing follow-up is developed from the literature using these principles. Based on document analysis and semi-structured interviews, a case study of the Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada’s first diamond mine, is evaluated based on the best practice principles, which advocate actions for success. The Ekati mine is meeting requirements in the best practice principles, as established in the best practice framework, which is outlined in part, in licenses obtained by Ekati. This is exemplified in BHPB’s, use of hypothesis in impact prediction. However, there are normative principles and elements that are left out in Broken Hill Proprietary Billiton Ekati’s follow-up programs. For example, there is some concern about the level to which local knowledge has been incorporated and the level to which monitoring of socio-economic elements is being carried out. Based on Ekati’s experience, a number of new lessons emerge to inform the framework on best practice follow-up namely, that there is need for mandatory, non-ephemeral legislation on follow-up, that baseline data needs to be repeatedly collected after projects have started operations and that there is a need for firmer requirements if proponents are to exercise serious commitment to public involvement.



best practices, envirnmental impact assessment, diamond mine



Master of Arts (M.A.)






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