De Beers Canada has found a new contractor to provide culinary and cleaning services at the NWT’s Gahcho Kué diamond mine after another company terminated its contract with them in September.

Aboriginally-owned business Bouwa Whee Catering recently signed a deal with the mining giant to take over the contract. De Beers says the agreement will come into effect Dec. 9.

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This comes after another contractor, ESS Compass Group, terminated its contract with the mining company to provide the same services at the territory’s newest diamond mine.

De Beers says its contract with Bouwa Whee Catering is the first to be awarded under a new approach to prioritize businesses that are owned, managed and operated in the Northwest Territories.

“We want to continue to strengthen our partnerships with those communities that have impact benefit agreements with our business,” said De Beers CEO Kim Truter.

“Selecting a local community company that has invested for the long-term will provide that business and the community [with] better long-term planning and sustainability.”

Truter says an evergreen contract will remain in place for the life of the operation, provided that the contractor continues to deliver services as required.

Det’on Cho Corporation CEO Paul Gruner said: “Contracts like this with De Beers represent true partnerships and provide greater long-term certainty for Bouwa Whee Catering and Det’on Cho Corporation.

“Mutually beneficial business partnerships have been the foundation of our success.”

De Beers Canada owns 51 per cent of Gahcho Kué – located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife – while Mountain Province Diamonds owns the other 49 per cent.

The diamond mine officially opened on Sept. 20 and is currently ramping up to full production, which is expected in the first quarter of 2017.