One of Chris Angeconeb’s first jobs was documenting diesel spills near schools, health clinics and airports on northwestern Ontario reserves for his Lac Seul First Nation.
Today, 25 years later, as vice-president of junior miner AurCrest Gold Inc., he’s trying to forge bonds between his company and nearby indigenous communities over a shared goal: ending their reliance on diesel.
Using diesel energy means companies and residents alike are susceptible to blackouts due to shortages as well as hazardous leaks and spills. The lack of reliability, volatile pricing and cost of hauling the fuel, often via ice roads or planes, in addition to the increasing viability of alternatives, has made getting off diesel a priority for both miners and remote communities.
Angeconeb believes First Nations-owned renewable energy could be a potential solution to two of the biggest challenges faced by miners in remote locations: power generation and inclusion of local indigenous people.
For decades, industry has clashed with indigenous communities over resource exploitation in their traditional territories. As a result, local First Nations, feeling excluded, have blocked or delayed resource projects. But Angeconeb is convinced that giving them the chance to participate in a sustainable solution will smooth the duty to consult and accommodate process.
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