New agreement strengthens Ontario mining industry-First Nations relations

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.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Ontario Mining Association member Quadra FNX and the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation strengthens relationships among mining companies and First Nations in the province.  The MOU is designed to serve as a foundation for a working relationship between both parties concerning Quadra FNX’s advanced exploration program on the Victoria Project in Sudbury.

Quadra FNX and the Sagamok First Nation will work towards a full Impact Benefits Agreement.  The company is proceeding with efforts to gain environmental permitting for the project.  The MOU was signed in Sudbury by Chief Paul Eshkakogan of the Sagamok First Nation and Michael Winship, Chief Operating Officer of Quadra FNX.

“This MOU will facilitate open and timely dialogue between Quadra FNX and our First Nation as it relates to the company’s activities to develop the Victoria Advanced Exploration project,” said Chief Eshkakogan.  “We look forward to negotiating an IBA that will provide benefits for our members and ensure the environment and our traditional territories are protected.”

“We are very pleased to have signed an MOU with Sagamok,” said Paul Blythe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quadra FNX.  “As a company we believe in having a strong relationship with all First Nations communities and other stakeholders in the Sudbury area and this MOU is an important step in establishing a long term, mutually beneficial partnership.”

The Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation is located on the north shore of Lake Huron about 80 kilometres west of Sudbury.  The community, with a registered population of 2,636, is located in one of the most active mineral exploration areas in Canada.

Quadra FNX is a mid-tier copper mining company with offices in Vancouver and Toronto, which employs about 2,500 people in North America and South America.  The company produces copper, nickel and precious metals from mines in Nevada, Arizona, Chile and Sudbury.  It has two major development projects – Sierra Gorda, a copper-molybdenum deposit in Chile and Victoria in Ontario.

The Victoria Project is believed to contain 3.4 billion pounds of copper equivalent.  It is a poly-metallic deposit containing copper, nickel and precious metals located about 30 kilometres southwest of downtown Sudbury.  The capital cost to develop the property is estimated at $750 million.

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 six years since, 2006, this number has increased significantly as more mining exploration and development takes place in areas close to Aboriginal communities.

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