Waubetek-led initiative aims to increase opportunities for Indigenous participation in mining
Global mining giant Rio Tinto has committed $1 million over five years to become a founding partner in the Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development being established in Northern Ontario.
The centre is an initiative of the Waubetek Business Development Corp., an Indigenous-led economic development organization based on the Whitefish River First Nation that provides business financing and economic development services to First Nations and Aboriginal businesses located throughout northeastern Ontario.
It’s being designed as a centre of knowledge and expertise for Indigenous communities, industry and governments. It will connect stakeholders to develop partnerships and offer access to information, referral services and training tools around Indigenous participation in mineral development.
Initiatives will include developing ‘Mining 101’ training to support Indigenous communities in developing capacity to understand the mineral resources present in their traditional territories and how to engage fully with the mining industry. In addition to the financial contribution, Rio Tinto said it’s committed to lending its technical expertise to the venture.
“Our partnership aims to grow the opportunity for Indigenous communities to participate in a meaningful way in the benefits that can come from responsible mineral development,” said Simone Niven, Rio Tinto’s group executive of corporate relations, in a Nov. 27 news release announcing the partnership.