Confederation College, Noront Resources and Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) have established a training alliance to create a home-grown Aboriginal mining workforce for the Ring of Fire.
A memorandum of understanding was signed at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, March 5.
A college press release said intent of the agreement and the alliance is to work collaboratively to provide training and employment opportunities in developing a skilled workforce for mining activity associated with Noront's Eagle's Nest project in the James Bay lowlands.
"The Ring of Fire Training Alliance will strengthen KKETS' capacity and enhance the programs and services we provide to our First Nations peoples of the land by advancing their skills and employability to get meaningful jobs in the growing resources sector,” said KKETS program manager Morris Wapoose in a statement.
With northwestern Ontario on the verge of major industrial development, it's believed mining will provide employment and socio-economic benefits that will benefit First Nations for more than 100 years.
“We can take our learners from where they are at, to where they want to be by providing them with the required education, skills and training that will assist them in achieving their education and employment goals for long term sustainability and prosperity," said David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of the Matawa First Nations Management, which provides advisory services to the nine-member community tribal council.
The communities of Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Marten Falls, Nibinamik, Webequie, Constance Lake, Aroland, Long Lake # 58 and Ginoogaming First Nation are located in the vicinity of the Ring of Fire chromite and base metal exploration camp in the James Bay area.
This agreement will remain in place for a minimum period of five years.
Noront Resources is a well-known industry partner that's worked closely with the Matawa First Nations to open up all aspects of its exploration work at its Eagle's Nest nickel and base metal deposit to Aboriginal participation.
Leanne Hall, Noront's vice-president of human resources, called the training alliance a “necessary first step” in developing a local workforce that will enable Matawa to fully participate in regional economic development.
Thunder Bay's Confederation College will provide access to the programming.
"The Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance is an innovative approach that provides a comprehensive long-term strategy to meet the education to employment needs of the mining industry," said Jim Madder, Confederation's president.