Fort William prepares for mining boom – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – March 5, 2013)

Fort William First Nation is looking to prepare community members for the expected northern Ontario mining boom by hosting a mining conference from March 25-26.

“We want to get our community members, as many as we can, involved with the mining sector,” said Michael Pelletier, Fort William’s director of economic development. “A lot of the jobs that come up in mining are specialized and you need training, so (with) a couple of years of school or the training required, hopefully we can have our folks ready when things are booming.”

Pelletier said the community also wants to work with Thunder Bay to develop the area as a hub for mining.

“A lot of things have to come through Thunder Bay to get to the north, so we’d like to ready here in Thunder Bay and Fort William so we can help with some of the support services and all the other industry that needs to happen to make mining work.”

Pelletier said everyone is welcome to attend the Fort William First Nation Mining Conference, which will be held at the Fort William First Nation Community Centre. The conference will feature mining company presentations by a number of companies, including Bending Lake Iron Group, Cliff’s Natural Resources, Noront Resources and Treasury Metals.

“The main thrust of this came out of a study done by Lakehead University on mining in northwestern Ontario,” said Walter Bannon, Fort William’s communication officer. “That was when we spawned the idea of making sure that we understood the importance of mining in the future and how we were to make sure that our people and the people of northwestern Ontario were educated in what was coming in terms of mining and what business opportunities were available in the future.”

Presentations on Women in Mining, the Fort William First Nation Mining Strategy, Aboriginal Involvement in Mining, Mining Essentials and a roundtable discussion will also be held during the conference.

“Mining really is the focus of things happening up here in northwestern Ontario,” Pelletier said. “We really want to educate our youth, our women, our community as well as Thunder Bay about some of the mining opportunities coming up and give them a little bit of a how to in how to get involved in mining.”

People interested in attending are encouraged to register online at

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