Ontario Mining Association (OMA) members partner to help train, graduate and hire First Nations employees

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Mining is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginals in Canada.  Aboriginals
represent 7.5% of the mining workforce.  Between 1996 and 2006, there was a 43%
increase in the number of Aboriginals employed in the mineral sector rising from
2,600 to more than 4,500.  In the five years since 2006, this number has increased
significantly as more mining exploration and development takes place in areas
close to Aboriginal communities. (OMA)

Six First Nation members, who graduated recently from an underground miner training program, have found instant employment with Ontario Mining Association members Northgate Minerals and Dumas Contracting.  A partnership between these companies and the Matachewan First Nation under the Matachewan Aboriginal Access to Mine Jobs Training Strategy (MAATS) created these employment opportunities.

The second group of graduates under this MAATS program included David Batisse, Dustin Roy, John Cloutier and Chad Larkman from the Matachewan First Nation, Katlin Maurer from Beaverhouse First Nation and Kohl Porter of the Mattagami First Nation.   Three of the graduates have been hired by Northgate Minerals and three have been hired by Dumas Contracting.

They will be working at Northgate’s Young-Davidson gold mine near Kirkland Lake, which is scheduled to start production next year.  The Young-Davidson project represents a $339 million capital investment, which has created 600 jobs during its construction and development phase and 275 jobs during production throughout its projected 15 year mine life.

“Thanks to the development of these training and employment opportunities with Northgate Minerals at its Young-Davidson Mine, our people are starting rewarding careers in mining,” said Mario Batisse, Matachewan First Nation Elder and Former Chief. 

The six-month long training program involves intensive hands on training and instruction at the mine site with the direct involvement of and support of Northgate Minerals and Dumas Contracting.  “MAATs, in partnership with Northgate Minerals and Dumas, has provided the Basic Underground training and upon completion of this training partnership, all of the trainees have been hired by either Northgate or Dumas,” said Gail Brubacher, Northgate’s First Nation Partnership Coordinator.  

“Two training programs have been successfully completed up to this date and this training opportunity has enabled our First Nations people to access employment in the mining industry,” she added.  “This is one of the few training programs that resulted in immediate employment of the trainees upon completion of the program.”

The underground miner training program is part of the MAATS $4 million initiative supported by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership.  Northgate Minerals signed an impact and benefits agreement with the Matachewan First Nation, a member of the Wabun Tribal Council, in July 2009. 

Mining is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginals in Canada.  Aboriginals represent 7.5% of the mining workforce.  Between 1996 and 2006, there was a 43% increase in the number of Aboriginals employed in the mineral sector rising from 2,600 to more than 4,500.  In the five years since 2006, this number has increased significantly as more mining exploration and development takes place in areas close to Aboriginal communities.  Also, according to Natural Resources Canada’s “Mining Sector Performance Report,” females accounted for 14% of Aboriginal employees, up from 11.5% in 2001. 

Miners and mining companies are responsible, solution-providing partners in society. They do more than find, extract and process minerals essential to our modern lifestyle. These companies are economic enterprises operated by men and women who are innovative members of society and community builders.  They add great value to the quality of life in their communities and beyond.

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