With Northern Ontario’s mining sector poised to takeoff, the region’s First Nations are preparing to get on board.
Staff at the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) are organizing the first summit to introduce mining corporations to First Nation communities whose traditional territories sit on valuable ore.
“There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding mining over the past couple years and I think there’s a sense among First Nations communities of a need to empower themselves to benefit from resource development,” said NADF’s marketing and communications director Ade Sekudo.
“Our communities are looking to leverage their rich resource base to fund sustainable economic growth.” While miners have been clawing ore out of the Canadian Shield in the North for more than a century, Sekudo explained there is now a greater urgency felt by First Nations to reap some of the industry’s benefits.
But, before Aboriginal communities can effectively tap into the industry, Sekudo said they need to develop the requisite contacts and expertise.
“We’re not looking at simply creating menial jobs in these communities. It’s important to understand we’re looking at creating real, sustainable employment for these people like chartered accountants, mine clerks and camp clerks,” Sekudo said.
NADF special initiatives advisor Brian Dave, said the Mining Ready conference is an essential first step.
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