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News Release - Manitoba

November 8, 2013

New Mining Advisory Council to Ensure First Nations Benefit from Resource Development

Revenue Sharing, Skills Training, Job Creation, Consultations to be Focus; First Nations Leadership to Fill Key Role on Council: Minister

First Nations leadership will have a key role in a new Mining Advisory Council, joining industry representatives and the Government of Manitoba to ensure First Nations communities benefit from the development of new mines, Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak said today.

“First Nations that want to participate will be partners every step of the way as new mines are brought on line and they will share in the benefits of resource development,” the minister said.  “There will be new training opportunities, good jobs, revenue sharing and a range of social and economic benefits for First Nations communities.  This will also send an important message to those who want to invest in Manitoba’s mining sector that we’re open for business.”  

The new Mining Advisory Council will include representation from First Nations, the mining industry and the province.  It will ensure First Nations communities that want to participate are always consulted on every aspect of resource development, the minister said.

The council will provide advice and recommendations to the Government of Manitoba on:

  • resource revenue and benefit sharing with First Nations communities;
  • promoting and increasing First Nations procurement and business opportunities including joint ventures;
  • creating education, training and employment opportunities and equity;
  • strengthening environmental protection and stewardship; and
  • ensuring full consultations continue with First Nations communities throughout this process.

“The work of the advisory council will develop meaningful consultation processes and build stronger, more respectful relationships with First Nation communities,” said Chief Ron Evans, Norway House Cree Nation, and co-chair of the Mining Advisory Council.  “Being at the table will ensure a strong voice for our communities and employment and economic opportunities for our people.”

“As independent and sovereign nations, we need to be at the table and be involved,” said Chief Donavan Fontaine, Sagkeeng First Nation, and co-chair of the Mining Advisory Council.  “Our work with the Mining Advisory Council will help ensure our people receive equitable benefits from mining done in our territories.” 

“This is a positive step towards building a more sustainable future for the mining industry in the province of Manitoba,” said Lovro Paulic, chair of the Mining Association of Manitoba and vice‑president of operations for Vale Manitoba.  “We look forward to listening to and learning from one another, so we can better understand issues and opportunities, and move forward in a respectful, mutually beneficial manner.” 

The minister noted the creation of the Mining Advisory Council builds on other government education, training and Aboriginal business development initiatives including:

  • the $4.6-million Northern Manitoba Mining Academy in Flin Flon, a professional training and research facility with state-of-the-art mining simulators and geology labs, a multi-purpose wet lab and video conferencing, which provides a regional hub for the development and administration of mining and geosciences training across the north;
  • over $13 million in orphaned and abandoned mine site rehabilitation projects awarded to First Nations contractors and business owners; and
  • the Mineral Resources Training Program, a partnership between government, industry and Manitoba Keewatinow Okimakinak communities that provides pre-employment training in prospecting, exploration, mining and environmental management.

“Reconciliation, recognition, respect and responsible development are at the heart of these discussions,” said the minister, adding the ideas generated by the council might be useful in other resource areas.  “None of these initiatives will replace consultations with communities or the ability for independent First Nations to pursue separate processes, but they will assist in improving communications and understanding.”

Mining is the second largest resource sector in Manitoba with 40 companies active in mineral exploration and mining, employing more than 900 Aboriginal workers.  In 2012, the province’s combined value of mineral production for metals and industrial minerals exceeded $1.5 billion.

The province’s seven mines produce 100 per cent of Canada’s cesium, 13.1 per cent of Canada’s nickel, 12.9 per cent of Canada’s zinc, 7.3 per cent of Canada’s copper, 5.4 per cent of Canada’s gold and 5.2 per cent of Canada’s silver.

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Mining Advisory Council Representatives and Responsibilities -