Increase in procurement from indigenous suppliers in Canadian mining sector: report – by Kylie Williams (CIM Magazine – February 2017)

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Indigenous involvement in the Canadian mining sector is growing. In 2015, an estimated 230 indigenous suppliers provided goods and services to mining operations, according to a Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) report, and 40 per cent of all indigenous businesses were working in mining or extraction, up from 13 per cent in 2010.

The report, produced by the CCAB and Engineers Without Borders Canada’s (EWB) Mining Shared Value initiative and released in late November, made several recommendations to increase these numbers further.

The report documents the range of working relationships between mining companies, indigenous entrepreneurs and aboriginal economic development corporations (AEDCs) across Canada, from joint-venture partnerships and impact and benefit agreements, to maintaining and promoting indigenous supplier directories in key mining districts.

“One of the best practices we’ve seen is outlining key performance indicators between mining company procurement staff and aboriginal businesses,” said Anthea Darychuk, report co-author and project manager at Mining Shared Value. “Both parties can lay out their expectations and agree what success looks like, which prevents unreasonable expectations and promotes trust.”

There are still barriers to overcome, explained Darychuk, including indigenous people having difficulty accessing financing, historical legacies with governments, and a complex patchwork of federal and provincial training programs that do not fully benefit the growing indigenous workforce.

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