Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Protocol report released
June 15, 2018 - The Manitoba government has released the Co-chairs’ Report on the Manitoba–First Nations Mineral Development Protocol, which includes key findings and recommendations on ways to create certainty in order to advance mineral development projects in a timely way, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen and Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced, along with co-chairs Ron Evans, former chief of Norway House Cree Nation, and Jim Downey, former Manitoba deputy premier and cabinet minister.
“We are pleased to receive the report and recommendations,” said Pedersen. “A new protocol will create certainty for all parties including First Nations, industry and government, and help ensure First Nations can be actively involved in all phases of mineral development to create and share in the benefits of growth in this sector. Thank you to the co-chairs for their dedication in developing this framework.”
Evans and Downey engaged First Nations leadership, industry representatives and stakeholders to develop the protocol, which defines how consultations would occur during all phases of mineral development, from initial exploration to mine development and reclamation.
The report includes a proposed Crown–Aboriginal consultation process guide and matrix for mineral development, and sets out clear time frames. It also identifies opportunities to strengthen partnerships and better prepare First Nations to be active partners throughout the mineral development cycle.
“We are optimistic the findings and recommendations set out in this report will help establish a clear pathway that will see First Nations, industry and government move forward collaboratively and proactively to advance mineral development opportunities in Manitoba,” said Evans. “It has been a privilege to meet with many First Nations who have immediate or potential mineral development interests in their traditional territories and to seek their insight in this process.”
Pedersen noted the province will proceed with the following next steps:
• Conducting an internal review of the priority areas identified in the report to determine the best ways to move forward with the co-chairs’ recommendations;
• Considering the necessary capacity development initiatives to support and increase Indigenous participation in mineral development projects as well as the program, policy and regulatory changes needed to move forward;
• Providing a detailed response and action plan in September; and
• Working collaboratively with willing First Nations to implement the mineral development protocol.
“We are incredibly pleased with the positive interest this initiative has generated, and for the meaningful, insightful and constructive input we received,” said Downey. “All of the input was taken into account in developing our recommendations, which together form the proposed framework and our recommended next steps.”
“This process provided a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with First Nations to advance areas of mutual interest, while supporting reconciliation through mutually respectful relationships between the Crown and Indigenous peoples,” said Clarke. “This report clearly outlines that improved relationships, earlier and more frequent communications with government and industry, a clearer understanding of the benefits that will accrue and a more formalized role in the development of these projects is key for First Nations.
“Our government remains committed to advancing reconciliation by building respectful and productive partnerships with First Nations to responsibly and sustainably develop our natural resources.”
Clarke noted the Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy highlights mining as a long-time net contributor to the economic prosperity of the province. Conversations with northern communities as part of the Look North initiative have confirmed that mineral development continues to be a top priority in the region, she added.
To view a copy of the co-chairs’ report, visit www.manitoba.ca/iem/mines/fnmdp.html.
To learn more about the Look North initiative, visit www.LookNorthMB.ca.
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