Inuit org negotiates improved IIBA for [Agnico Eagle’s] Meliadine gold mine – by Sarah Rogers (Nunatsiaq News – January 19, 2016)

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Kivalliq Inuit benefits deal contains improved Inuit contracting, financial compensation provisions

The Kivalliq Inuit Association says the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement for the region’s Meliadine gold project is a step up from past agreements in what it offers Inuit.

After more than three years of negotiations, the KIA and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. completed and signed an IIBA last July for the company’s Meliadine gold project.

“The Meliadine IIBA provides for improved contracting opportunities for Inuit firms, improved employment opportunities, and enhanced provisions for social and cultural benefits,” KIA president David Ningeongan said in an email to Nunatsiaq News last week.

“The KIA is also taking an active role in its implementation of the IIBA through the committees created by the IIBA, all of which improve on the provisions found in the Meadowbank IIBA.”

If Agnico Eagle decides to go ahead with it, Meliadine, located about 26 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, would become its second gold mine in the Kivalliq region.

The IIBA, a copy of which has been obtained by Nunatsiaq News, is still be translated into Inuktitut, but a 138-page English version highlights the mining company’s various commitments on Inuit employment, goods and service contracts, and resource royalties.

Inuit employment and contracting

In negotiations, talks between the Inuit association and the mining company sometimes hit a roadblock around issues like financial compensation and preference points for Inuit contractors.

At one point in 2014, when talks reached an apparent impasse, Agnico Eagle asked the federal government to provide compulsory binding arbitration.

However, the completed IIBA awards points to Inuit firms recognized under Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. based on how much of the contract they’ll fulfill, their percentage of Inuit employees and their local presence, with the highest scores going to affected Kivalliq communities.

The IIBA says Agnico Eagle must make its “best efforts” to award contracts to Inuit firms, providing at least 11 months notice prior to the expected construction or operation date.

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