Goldcorp and Wabauskang First Nation have signed a collaboration agreement that paves the way for long-term economic benefits for the northwestern Ontario First Nation.
The new agreement, which marks Goldcorp's sixth First Nation partnership in Canada, provides a framework for strengthened collaboration in the development and operations of Red Lake Gold Mines. A signing ceremony was held Jan. 29 in Wabauskang, located about 100 kilometres south of Red Lake.
Goldcorp now has collaboration agreements in place with all of the First Nations which assert Aboriginal and treaty rights in the vicinity of its active operations in Canada: Red Lake Gold Mines, Musselwhite Mine, Porcupine Gold Mines and Éléonore Mine.
“This new agreement is about so much more than economic benefits,” said Brent Bergeron, Goldcorp's executive vice-president of corporate affairs and sustainability, in a news release. “It's about long-term partnership, open dialogue and shared prosperity. It demonstrates our company's ongoing commitment to develop Northern Ontario's natural resources in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way, and will bring well-deserved recognition to the people of Wabauskang.”
“This agreement is a significant achievement for our community,” Wabauskang Chief Martine Petiquan said in the release. “Agreements like this one are an essential part of ensuring that our treaty rights are respected when companies want to develop the lands and resources in our territory.”
Based on a series of community meetings that generated broad support from both parties, the collaboration agreement outlines tangible benefits for Wabauskang — including skills training and employment, opportunities for business development and contracting, and a framework for issues resolution, regulatory permitting, and Goldcorp's future financial contributions.
“First Nations communities have an incredible opportunity to benefit from resource development,” Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in the release. “This agreement is an excellent example of industry and First Nations working together to build long-term partnerships that will ensure responsible development while bringing employment and economic opportunities to First Nations communities.”
Red Lake Gold Mines is amongst Goldcorp's top producing sites, yielding more than 400,000 ounces of gold in 2014. The company is expanding development in the Red Lake area through its Cochenour project, which is expected to produce first ore from production stopes later this year.
"Social responsibility is at the core of our business," added Bergeron. "This agreement with Wabauskang is based on co-operation, and shows what's possible when a company like Goldcorp and local First Nations form a partnership based on a shared vision."
This new collaboration agreement solidifies the relationship between both parties and will facilitate any potential regulatory permitting pertaining to both Red Lake Gold Mines and the Cochenour project.