New mining protocol unearths optimism – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – June 16, 2018)

More involvement of First Nations among identified priorities

The province has released its long-anticipated First Nations Mineral Development Protocol, which is hoped to end some of the uncertainties that have dogged the industry in Manitoba.

The report, co-written by former Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs grand chief Ron Evans and former deputy premier of Manitoba Jim Downey, includes seven priority areas to be addressed.

They include common-sense issues such as better communication with First Nations about potential mineral exploration projects and more expeditious response from government regarding regulatory action it needs to take during mineral development projects. Priority areas also include a call for revenue-sharing and for First Nations to become engaged in more substantial economic partnerships with the mining companies.

Like other, similar reports to government, it runs the risk of sitting on a shelf and gathering dust — but there seems to be a sentiment shared by many that, this time, action is actually going to be taken.

Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen, whom sources say has made this a top priority, told industry officials as much at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto this past March. “We’re incredibly pleased with the positive interest it has generated,” he said.

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