More major mines tapping Indigenous labour force – (Business Vancouver – January 30, 2018)

First Nations increasingly a key piece of puzzle in solving mining’s HR challenges

In recent years, two major copper mine proposals in B.C. – New Prosperity and Ajax – have been rejected by government, either largely or partly due to First Nations opposition.

What gets less publicity are mines that have been built with the support and co-operation of First Nations – Red Chris and Brucejack being among the most recent examples.

At last week’s Association for Mineral Exploration (AME) annual Roundup conference, Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Natural Resources Canada, pointed out that mining is the largest employer of First Nations in Canada, employing 11,000 Indigenous people.

There are some 400 agreements between mining companies and First Nations across Canada, she said. One theme at last week’s Roundup was the role resource industries like mining can play in reconciliation with Indigenous people.

Concern has been raised over the new NDP government’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The fear is that an UNDRIP clause that requires “free, prior and informed consent” from First Nations on development amounts to a veto. Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, says it doesn’t.

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