Goldcorp has signed an impact and benefit agreement (IBA) with three First Nations, marking a big step forward in the development of its Borden Gold project near the town of Chapleau.
The company said the agreement is the result of two years of negotiations with the three communities and marks a major milestone, as this is the first time the three First Nations are involved with a mining project.
Under the agreement, Goldcorp recognizes and respects the rights and interests these First Nations have around the Borden project site, and the three First Nation communities recognize and support Goldcorp's rights and interests in the development and future operation of the mine.
The agreement also reflects Goldcorp's commitment to protecting the environment and supporting Aboriginal social and cultural practices in a spirit of continued collaboration.
"Successful relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, meaningful engagement, and they require sincere commitment from all involved. I'm pleased with the work accomplished by the group and I feel very proud that Goldcorp is the first mining company to partner with the Brunswick House, Chapleau Cree and Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation communities,” said Marc Lauzier, mine general manager at Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines, in the release.
“We recognize the importance of nurturing our partnerships and collaborating with our project neighbours to ensure the sustainability of the local communities surrounding Borden Gold.”
The agreement outlines provisions for environmental and health protections that combine innovation and the use of modern technology to develop Borden Gold into Canada's first all-electric underground mine, eliminating the use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
The agreement also includes provisions for employment and training, and business and contracting opportunities, along with a framework for regulatory permitting.
The chiefs of all three communities expressed optimism about their ongoing relationship with Goldcorp and the future benefits the agreement could bring.
"On behalf of our council and our community members, I am pleased we have entered into the impact and benefit agreement with Goldcorp for the Borden Gold project. This is our first partnership in mining, and although our relationship is young and still evolving, we are hopeful for the future of the project and for the opportunities that it will create,” said Chief Lisa VanBuskirk of Brunswick House First Nation.
“We appreciate the efforts of Goldcorp and are thankful for them recognizing our connection to the land and for their commitment to protecting it while in their care.”
Chief Keith Corston of Chapleau Cree First Nation commented: "The Chapleau Cree First Nation is pleased to have entered into this agreement with Goldcorp. This is an important milestone in our journey to form meaningful relationships with industry and to create sustainable opportunity for our community. Open and trusting dialogue and engagement are the cornerstones of successful relationships and we trust in Goldcorp to uphold the highest standards of environmental protections so that our future generations of children and families can continue practicing a cultural and traditional way of life."
Chief Anita Stephens of Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation remarked: "As the chief of the Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation, I extend my esteemed congratulations on the Borden Gold development and the processes by which it has come to be. I would also like to convey that I am proud and excited about the future. These years of negotiations, which included trust and relationship-building, unlock exciting possibilities and prospects regarding this project. It is with great respect and humility that we took part in and witnessed the commitments and responsibilities with Goldcorp's involvement with the Aboriginal communities."
The company said Goldcorp expected to start extracting a bulk sample of up to 30,000 tonnes shortly, with the first sample expected by the end of the summer.
Commercial operation of the mine is anticipated to begin in 2019.