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The Three R’s of Mining Indigenous Land: Respect, Relationships, Resources

A look into the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to the mining industry.

Respect: The Land.

As members of the mining world, TMG acknowledges the need to work together with the rightful owners of the land and commit to sharing common goals. We are committed to continuous learning, ongoing improvements, and to advancements in our world of resources, as well as in our partnerships and relationship building. The contributions of Indigenous Peoples to the mining industry are essential to our ability to provide sustainable minerals and metals for the world to enjoy.

According to The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, “nearly 500 mining agreements have been signed between the mining industry and Indigenous Peoples in Canada since 1974, with more than 350 signed in the past decade.”

The contributions of Indigenous peoples to the mining industry have been, and will always be, essential to our ability to provide sustainable minerals and metals for the world to enjoy.

Relationships: The People.

The contributions go beyond access to the land and the actual exploration of it. Indigenous Peoples are thriving members of a sustainable industry, with countless mutually beneficial opportunities. Many people outside of the mining world are unaware of the partnerships between mining companies and the Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous-owned businesses.

Mining companies align with Indigenous Peoples to discuss the overall scope of the project, the immediate or upcoming needs, the next skillsets required, and collaborate in any required training (quite often long-term training) of the workforce, and contracting of Indigenous-owned businesses first as a right to first refusal. The opportunities are plentiful and contribute to mutual growth and success.

Resources: The Opportunities.

In January of 2020, Business Intelligence for B.C. (BIV) released an online article outlining economic success stories between Indigenous Peoples in B.C. and the mining industry. The B.C. Regional Mining Alliance (BCRMA) is a partnership between the B.C. government, the Nisga’a and Tahltan, and five mining companies with properties that are being developed in the Golden Triangle whose mission is to foster mining in B.C. with the support of Indigenous Peoples.

Corinne McKay, secretary-treasurer of Nisha’a Lisims Government, is quoted in BIV’s article (in regard to the mining industry) saying, “We know that it’s a growth industry for many of our people, and we know that there’s potential and we’d like to capitalize on that…if there’s an opportunity to provide capacity for training and employment, our people are there.”

Tahltan elder, Jerry Asp, is quoted, stating “We had 98% unemployment in the winter and 65% unemployment in the summer in our nation. And we took it to zero.” Tahltan elder, Asp continues to state that 400 Tahltan people are employed in the mining sector – 300 in operating mines and 100 in exploration. “We’re earning somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30 million annually in wages to the Tahltan.”

The Eskay Creek site is another example. “Eskay Creek is located within the Tahltan Territory. The Tahltan consider themselves a mining nation as they have been mining obsidian for the last 10,000 years. Their land is home to three producing mines – Brucejack, Silvertip and Red Chris.” (Source) Skeena Resources is a proud co-founder of the BC Regional Mining Alliance –an alliance between the B.C. government, the Indigenous, and the mining industry in B.C.’s Golden Triangle.

The big picture reveals the fact that mines provide employment and training opportunities to local communities. Business opportunities are realized with a shared commitment to recognition and respect for the land and surrounding communities.

The Impact.

“Exploration and mining activities can generate wealth and socio-economic growth in many [Indigenous] communities through partnerships, employment, skills development, business and spin-off opportunities, and participation in decisions and activities undertaken to protect the environment. A mine can generate benefits that outlive the mine itself and can therefore help build the community’s self-reliance.” (Source)

From beginning to end, it is always about sustainable development of natural resources with a focus on respect, relationships, and the care and protection of the land to which we connect and belong in culture, spirituality, and existence.

Written with respect and recognition,
Your TMG Team

TMG provides a unique oversight service to mining company executives and project owners who are, or will be, engaged in growing or enhancing their enterprise through capital projects. Our collective years of expertise enable us to get things done faster – ultimately saving you precious time, and helping you honour your project budget. In an industry where timing is everything, bringing TMG in at the right stage of your investment to be the eyes and ears for the project is critical.
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