Home > News > First Nation Partnerships...

First Nation Partnerships continue to flourish with mining sector

Aug 26, 2021

Photo Credit Adam Scotti: (L-R) Mattagami First Nation Chief Chad Boisonneau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford at Ground Breaking Ceremony at IAMGOLD’s Côté Gold Mine.

By Kevin Vincent
It doesn’t matter what part of northern Ontario you live in, chances are you’ll hear a lot about First Nations signing benefit agreements with both major and junior mining companies.
Take, for instance, the agreement signed by Matagami and Flying Post First Nations with IAMGOLD for the billion-dollar Cote Lake Mine. Matagami First Nation Chief Chad Boissoneau called the agreement, “A win-win for everybody,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this, our community is looking forward to this project.”
According to Natural Resources Canada, the minerals and metals industry is a major contributor to Canada’s economic well-being and is also vital to the economic and social cohesion of many rural and remote communities.
Exploration and mining activities can generate wealth and socio-economic growth in many Aboriginal communities through partnerships, employment, skills development, business and spin-off opportunities, and participation in decisions and activities undertaken to protect the environment. A mine can generate benefits that outlive the mine itself and therefore can help build the community’s self-reliance.
Flying Post Chief Murray Ray called the relationship with IAMGOLD a “family partnership.”
“Flying Post is thrilled for this to go forward,” he said.

Joint Ventures. Excellent ways of developing local business capacity

Flying Post
Flying Post First Nation Chief, Murray Ray and Prime Minister Trudeau. Photo credit Adam Scotti

Early community engagement and meaningful dialogue between Aboriginal communities and exploration companies are key to establishing successful working relationships and partnerships. The agreements signed at the early exploration phase (e.g., Memoranda of Understanding, Exploration Agreements) serve to establish a mutual understanding between a community and a company and define the principles for working together for mutual opportunities.
For the last decade, Aboriginal-industry relationships and partnerships have evolved tremendously through the conclusion of agreements related to mine development, such as Impact and Benefit Agreements. These agreements typically contain provisions for employment and training, business opportunities through set-aside contracts and joint ventures, social and cultural considerations, environmental monitoring, funding arrangements, and other provisions.
The minerals and metals industries are among Canada’s largest employers in rural and northern regions, offering short- and long-term, as well as part-time and seasonal, employment opportunities. These industries provide some of the highest weekly earnings in the economy.
There are more than 120 different careers in mining, with entry-level, semi-skilled trades,  and skilled jobs available throughout all stages of the mining sequence.

Picture Canada Nickel and Mattagami FN
Photos (L-R): Jason Batise Executive Director of Wabun Tribal Council, Matagami First Nation Chief Chad Boissoneau, Mark Selby Canada Nickel Company.

Each community is unique and will be equipped differently to capture potential economic opportunities. Aboriginal communities may want to develop joint-venture businesses with established companies. Joint ventures are an excellent way to develop local business capacity to prepare for and take advantage of the business opportunities related to mine development.
It is vital that communities look beyond the life of the mine for economic growth and to diversify their economic activities. They could use the skills and capacity gained from participating in the mineral development cycle for new beginnings whether the future economic base is tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, or any other activity.


Tags: Northern Ontario / Indigenous / All Articles