Indigenous engagement is transforming the future of mining – by Harold Reimer (Canadian Mining Journal – May 23, 2023)

New partnerships bridge the gap between industry and community

Canada’s mining sector has an extensive history, with minerals playing a vital role in day-to-day life going back thousands of years. Since then, much has changed and the industry has experienced innumerable advancements, including in technology, safety, and sustainability. More recently, one of the most significant developments has been the official recognition of the traditional lands of Indigenous communities that many Canadian mines are located on.

The recognition and accompanying legislation give communities better representation and more leverage in the mining process. That is why Indigenous community partnerships are becoming even more important and the relationship between industry and Indigenous communities is transforming. It helps pave the way towards economic reconciliation.

While the process is new to many, some suppliers are in a unique situation where they can support as a liaison to consult and understand. This allows for a bridging between the industry and Indigenous communities where there is an opportunity to reach out, engage, and educate.

What we are seeing is an approach to seek social licence and the discussions taking place are leading to impact benefit agreements (IBAs), capacity agreements, and mutual benefit agreements. It is leading to greater information sharing, better consultations, engagements, and consent for respective projects.

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