Deninu K’ue First Nation members now able to become part owners of mine
People in Fort Resolution, N.W.T., have entered into a landmark agreement with a Toronto-based mining company. The Deninu K’ue First Nation members now have the option buying three per cent of Avalon Rare Minerals’ proposed mine at Thor Lake, which is about 130 kilometres east of Yellowknife.
The band signed an agreement with the company at a ceremony in Fort Resolution Monday. This is the first time a mining company has recognized the community of Fort Resolution as a partner.
“Part ownership, even though it’s not much of a percentage, it’s a good start. After fighting for IBAs [Impact Benefit Agreements] for all these years, not getting one, today, a lot of people should be happy,” said Robert Sayine, an elder and band councillor in the community.
The agreement is giving people hope for future opportunities. “It means a lot to me, but it’s the future and the younger generation coming up, and the young families, that is where we aim everything at,” added Sayine.
Global demand for rare earth minerals growing
If approved, Avalon will be mining for rare earth minerals such as tantalum and beryllium which are found in rocks in the area. The rocks aren’t flashy, but the minerals inside are used in electronics, wind turbines and rechargeable batteries.
Global demand for the resource is growing, and Avalon says this deposit could be worth millions.
“We want our community partners to be working with us and understand what the project is about and see how they can benefit from it,” said Don Bubar, the CEO of Avalon.
Bubar said that if Fort Resolution can’t find the financing to buy in, the company will loan the band the money.
He said it’s a good jumping-off point for community members to get involved in other mining projects.
“It’s really the only industry that can create real wealth for the local people. First Nations have not been active participants in mineral development in the past, and it’s high time they were,” he said.
For the rest of this article, please go to the CBC News website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/07/31/north-deninu-kue-avalon-mine-deal.html