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Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine will donate CAD$250,000 (approximately AUD$287,000) in aid to the United Way Northwest Territories (UWNWT) to support those impacted by recent wildfires in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The donation from the Rio Tinto Disaster Relief Fund will support wildfire response efforts and will be distributed throughout registered charities with a focus on essential needs such as food, fuel, and other critical incidentals for NWT communities and evacuees.

Wildfires across Canada have burned 13.7 million hectares so far this year, now the worst on record since the 1989 wildfire season when 7.6 million hectares were lost.

“We are incredibly grateful for this monumental donation to support NWT residents,” United Way NWT board chair Tracy St. Denis said.

“As people are forced to evacuate from their communities across the Northwest Territories, the need will only continue to grow, and it’s heartening to see Diavik step up and contribute significant funds to help evacuees and emergency efforts.”

Rio Tinto has committed to assisting host communities in times of emergency, as well as working closely with Indigenous Governments and community-led efforts, saying it is looking forward to working with the United Way to ensure a streamlined community-centred approach.

“At Diavik, we understand the importance of community resilience and timely support,” Diavik president and chief operating officer Angela Bigg said.

“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted, which includes many of our own employees. This contribution is a testament to our long-standing commitment to supporting our communities, especially when they need it the most.

“Our partnership with the United Way will help ensure that the necessary resources promptly reach those in dire need.”

The donation is the latest in Rio Tinto’s ongoing commitment to community support, following its recent $2 million support package to flood relief in the Kimberly in January.