Nishnawbe Aski Development hosted their annual mining summit with the hopes of further creating opportunities for networking.
The two-day event, which continues Wednesday, featured a full agenda of speakers and exhibitors related to the mining industry.
“We’re not alone,” said Mark Podlasly, the senior advisor to the British Columbia First Nations Energy and Mining Council, after his presentation on Tuesday.
“People are going through this around the world. There is no need to reinvent the wheel for every negotiation in-terms of what is possible. Go out and find what is being done and see if you can adapt that back to your own community and dream big.”
Podlasly spoke on the importance of working together in-terms of the size of First Nations and the negotiating leverage that brings.
Later in the day, Podlasly was speaking on work being done at Kellogg School of Management, which includes business, community, religious and academic leaders who convene to grapple with problems of society and business to find ways of working together.
“That group has had questions from the mining industry who are realizing that they are getting hammered on costs, access to lands, social questions. They want to know is there a better way to do mining,” said Podlasly.
“The development partner framework has come out of that . . . it turns the mining model on its head, saying no you’re not an extractive industry anymore taking things out of the community. You should be here as a community development partner helping the community fulfill its needs and values in partnership.”
People from all aspects of the mining industry were taking part with individuals from government, the supply industry, First Nation leaders, negotiators, and young people interested in a career.
“It’s developing that web, that network of people that are necessary to create wealth,” said Brian Davey, executive director of the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund, on the importance of the summit.
“If we are doing resource extraction on First Nation traditional territories, there has to be that interdependence with each other. They can’t create wealth alone and we can’t do it alone either.”
Harold Calla, the executive chair of First Nations Financial Management Board, is speaking today on access to capital for energy projects.
“We have been approached by many First Nations across the country who find themselves engaged in consultation and accommodation around mining and energy projects,” said Calla.
“They have found themselves overwhelmed with the number of proponents that are coming forward and they haven’t found that they have the necessary resources to be able to make an informed decision.”
Calla’s organization works with the communities to help determine whether the offers they are getting are reasonable and how to prepare themselves to manage wealth from resources.
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