Manitoulin area residents, entrepreneurs, First Nations and communities are being encouraged to increase their participate in northern Ontario’s mining and minerals industry, as well as the aquaculture and business sectors, through a series of Government of Canada investments totalling more than C$3.4 million ($2.6 million).
The FedNor funding is aimed at supporting five initiatives that, among other things, will enable Waubetek Business Development Corporation to establish and operate a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Mineral Development for four years. Other funding recipients include LaCloche and Manitoulin Business Assistance Corp, Sheshegwaning First Nation and March of Dimes Canada.
Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, made the announcement this week on behalf of Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.
“The goal of the Centre for Indigenous Mineral Development is to enhance the participation of the indigenous people in the mines industry, as well as to assist industry and government through information sharing and best practice protocols with Indigenous engagement,” the government said. “Access to information will help employers and prospective employees fill or secure jobs, and facilitate networking and business development opportunities.”
Martin Bayer, Chair, Waubetek Business Development Corporation, said: “In 2015, at the request of First Nation leaders throughout our region, Waubetek developed and launched a mining strategy that would help ensure meaningful engagement, build capacity and create much needed employment for our First Nation people and help foster more Indigenous businesses opportunities in the mining industry. The strategy was developed through engagement sessions with our community rights holders.
“Our First Nations’ primary interest is to ensure that we are adequately consulted when it comes to mining and exploration within our traditional territories and to ensure that we have more opportunities to participate in the benefits that might come from this development in a sustainable way, including meaningful jobs, business opportunities, joint management and care of the lands on which these projects operate.
“A Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development would help our communities build capacity and advance our interests and build a clearinghouse of industry information about things like leading practices and processes that are needed by our First Nations. We are grateful that FedNor also sees the benefits of helping to establish a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development.”