Three levels of government, a mining company and a First Nation have come together in a historic agreement to develop a new potash mine in Saskatchewan. The joint venture between Encanto Potash Corp. and the Muskowekwan First Nation is truly unique. Together they plan to develop a solution mine near the town of Lestock on property within the Muskowekwan reserve.
The Muskowekwan are joining the project as full participants, with all the economic and revenue opportunities that entails. And the community is enthusiastic about the prospects.
Over the long life of a Saskatchewan potash mine, this could be worth billions to the First Nation, as chief Reg Bellerose told CMJ. There are about 2,000 members of the Muskowekwan First Nation, but only about 700 or 800 live on the reserves because the economic opportunities lie elsewhere.
“We want to attract investment to the reserve,” he said. “The goal is to take back control of our lives and priorities.” That means becoming economic contributors, with the new mine only one of several revenue streams for the First Nation.
A government first
The mineral lease and regulations for Muskowekwan required the co-operation of three levels of government – federal, provincial and First Nations. Negotiations involved the federal departments of Justice and of Indigenous and Indian Affairs, the Province of Saskatchewan, and the Council of the Muskowekwan First Nations.
This is the first ever lease issued under the Indian Mining Regulations, and Muskowekwan Resources, a joint venture of the First Nation and Encanto Potash, will be the lessee of 248.5 sq. km of land on the reserve.
For the rest of this article: http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/features/historic-deal-ensures-first-nations-participation-new-potash-mine/