Whitesand First Nation and Impala Canada signed a Community Benefits Agreement on Sept. 22 that provides a framework for ongoing, continued partnership, communication, and consultation surrounding the ongoing operation of the mining company’s Lac des Iles (LDI) Mine, northwest of Thunder Bay.
Whitesand is an Ojibway community located near the community of Armstrong and Lake Nipigon in northwestern Ontario.
A company news release said the agreement outlines how Whitesand “continue to be recognized and respected by the operation and lays the foundation for future socio-economic benefits for the community.” The company agrees to blend traditional Indigenous knowledge and scientific information into the mine’s continued operation and the environment management of the site.
Some benefits to the community from the mining company include employment, education and training, and business and contracting opportunities.
The 30-year-old LDI Mine produces palladium, a critical mineral used in catalytic converters, which reduces harmful emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles.
“I am pleased with the agreement we have reached with Impala Canada, and I look forward to continued partnership for the benefit of the Whitesand and LDI communities. The well-being of my members and the prosperous future of Whitesand First Nation are my priorities, and this agreement contributes to both,” said Whitesand Chief Allan Gustafson in the release.
“Our relationship with Whitesand First Nation is important to LDI’s success. I was pleased to celebrate the signing of our Community Benefits Agreement that articulates how we can create a positive future for our communities, together,” said Impala CEO Tim Hill. “The agreement creates new opportunities for shared prosperity and economic development, all while recognizing one another’s rights, heritage, and culture.”