The Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency ("IEMA" or "the Agency") was created to serve as a not-for-profit, public watchdog for environmental management at the Ekati Diamond Mine.
In December 1994, a federal Environmental Assessment Review Process (EARP) Panel began assessing the possible environmental, social, and economic consequences of building and operating the Ekati mine. This panel was created to conduct public hearings and review the Environmental Impact Statement produced for the project.
In June 1996, the Panel recommended that the Government of Canada approve the project. Approval was subject to a list of twenty-nine recommendations, several dealing with environmental monitoring and mitigation at the mine site.
To ensure the Panel's recommendations about the environment were carried through, the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), and BHP Diamonds Inc. (the proponent of the Ekati mine, now called BHP Billiton Canada Inc.) negotiated a legally binding Environmental Agreement.
All three parties signed the agreement in January 1997. The Environmental Agreement called for the establishment of the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency, and provided its mandate.
Attached to the Environmental Agreement was the Implementation Protocol signed by four Aboriginal organizations, BHP Diamonds Inc., GNWT, and Canada. The protocol provided a means for all parties to work together to establish the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency.
Creating the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency also helped to meet the needs of Aboriginal peoples (whose traditional lands would be affected by the diamond mine) for an impartial, independent and knowledgeable third party to monitor the environmental management of the mine.
The Agency is a non-profit organization incorporated as a Society under the Societies Act of the Northwest Territories on February 5, 1997. For more information, view our Society Incorporation Application and Bylaws (1997).