Aboriginal Community Development with the Resource Sector Annual Conference – Opening Comments – By Hans Matthews, President of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association

The Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA) is an Aboriginal, non-profit organization which seeks to increase the understanding of the minerals industry, Aboriginal mining and Aboriginal communities’ paramount interests in lands and resources.

Developing Minds, Managing Resources – November 2, 2008 (Saskatoon, Canada)

There are now more than 120 agreements in Canada between Aboriginal groups and mining companies. We are at a stage where it has almost become the norm for companies to negotiate agreements to gain access to the community, community lands and to initiate programs and services around environmental management, human resource (HR) development, business development, social planning and so on.

In addition, communities are receiving a share of revenues from mining projects and play a role in certain decision making with the company (generally in HR, environment, infrastructure planning, mine closure, and so on). Many communities, in the past, have not been exposed to such an extent to the mining industry as they are now, given the prominence of the industry (‘super cycle’), consultation requirements (government requirements), land settlement agreements (comprehensive land claim agreements) and impact/benefit type agreements.

As the momentum was created over the past five years in response to record commodity prices, more lands being acquired by resource companies and more Aboriginal communities engaging in benefits agreements with companies, we also saw a significant flaw in the process.

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