On Nov. 20, the MINING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (MAC) and the ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS (AFN) agreed to form a partnership to collaborate in such areas as joint advocacy during federal consultations, land claims resolution, human resource development and land use policy.
The collaboration will strengthen the AFN’s ability to create partnerships with mine developers as well as MAC’s sustainable development initiatives. So far a letter of intent has been signed, and a memorandum of understanding will be forthcoming.
The signing in Ottawa was met with optimism on both sides of the partnership.
“In resource development, First Nations and the mining community are natural partners,” stated Phil Fontaine, national chief of the AFN. “Developing a new partnership between the AFN and MAC will complement and enhance the growing relationships between First Nations and Canada’s major mining companies. We will create a forum for true collaboration towards greater certainty and sustainable mining developments that will contribute significantly to the economic, social and environmental well-being of First Nations.”
“Canada’s mining industry is the largest private sector employer of aboriginal people,” noted Peter R. Jones, MAC chairman and president and CEO of HUDBAY MINERALS. “Across Canada, mining companies and First Nations communities have agreements in place that include commitments on hiring, training, business development and environmental practices. But we believe this growing relationship can be strengthened through dialogue and partnership with the AFN.”
The deal should be welcomed by all exploration companies and mineral producers. It will provide a national framework for what has been done so far on a case-by-case basis. The benefit is that expectations will be spelled out and the goals attainable.
Congratulations to both the MAC and the AFN for their planning and co-operation.