On November 24, 2014, Goldcorp announced that Porcupine Gold Mines has signed a Resource Development Agreement with four First Nation communities including Mattagami First Nation, Wahgoshig First Nation, Matachewan First Nation and Flying Post First Nation. The agreement establishes a framework for continued consultation on existing and future operations in the Timmins area and defines long-term benefits for the four First Nation communities.
Under the agreement, Goldcorp recognizes and respects Aboriginal rights and interests in the area of the Porcupine Gold Mines operation and the four First Nation communities recognize and support Goldcorp's rights and interests in the operation and future development of the mine. The agreement also reflects Goldcorp's commitment to protecting the environment and supporting Aboriginal social and cultural practices in a spirit of continued collaboration.
"Goldcorp recognizes the importance of working with and learning from local First Nation communities in areas where we operate. This agreement creates the foundation for a lasting relationship built on trust, mutual respect and constructive engagement. It contributes to the sustainable development of our operations and provides long-term economic benefits to Mattagami, Wahgoshig, Matachewan and Flying Post First Nations," said Marc Lauzier, Mine General Manager at Goldcorp's Porcupine Gold Mines.
"This is an important milestone for our First Nation as it validates what our ancestors said in the Treaty signing. Our connection to the land is being recognized," said Chief Murray Ray of Flying Post First Nation. "This signing also gives our people hope for the future, as this partnership gives us an opportunity to become more self-sufficient so that our families and children can have a better future. This was what our grandfathers and ancestors wanted when they agreed to the treaty."
"I am pleased that we have managed to enter into an agreement with Goldcorp that has benefits to Matachewan First Nation and will provide hope and opportunity for the future. I thank all the other Chiefs involved and our Wabun Tribal Council administration for all the work done to make this agreement a reality," added Chief Elenore Hendrix of Matachewan First Nation.
Negotiations began over five years ago. While some of the faces at the table changed over the years, the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect stayed the same over that period.
Chief Walter Naveau of Mattagami First Nation said "This agreement has been a long wait for me as Chief and for our community. We are thankful to Goldcorp and the other First Nations involved for creating a meaningful negotiation process based on respect, open dialogue and the goal of creating mutual benefits. I am also grateful to Shawn Batise and Wabun Tribal Council for helping to establish a ground breaking agreement that others can look up to."
The agreement includes provisions for training, employment, business and contracting opportunities along with a consultation framework for regulatory permitting. Scholarship and bursary opportunities will also be provided for the youth of Mattagami, Wahgoshig, Matachewan and Flying Post First Nations. "This agreement is about building capacity in the communities and fostering a lasting partnership through transparent and open information-sharing," said Lauzier.
Chief David Babin of Wahgoshig First Nation said "I am very pleased that Goldcorp negotiated this Resource Development Agreement with the four impacted First Nations surrounding Timmins, including Wahgoshig First Nation. Goldcorp has demonstrated a willingness to work with the First Nations surrounding Timmins and provide real and tangible benefits and opportunities to help build capacity. This Agreement will be another example of how industry and First Nations can work successfully together."
About Mattagami First Nation
Mattagami First Nation is situated on ancient Native land that has long been home to the Ojibway and OjiCree people from the Mattagami River and Mattagami Lake areas and as far as the Moose River head waters on the James Bay coast. The First Nation is located on the northwest side of the beautiful Mattagami Lake. Translated, the Ojibway word 'Mattagami' means 'Meeting Of The Waters'. Mattagami FN is located about 20 kilometres north-east of Gogama and is accessible by road five kilometres from Highway 144. The community is 80 kilometers from Timmins, Ontario.
About Wahgoshig First Nation
Nestled in a village near Matheson Ontario with a population of 234, the Wahgoshig First Nation reserve encompasses 19,239 acres; the north end meets the south shore of Abitibi Lake, which divides North Eastern Ontario from North Western Quebec. Accessible from Highway 101, the village occupies 70 hectares of flat land adjacent to Blueberry Lake.
About Flying Post First Nation
Flying Post First Nation, formerly an independent First Nation in the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) territory, joined the Wabun Tribal Council in 2007 to become a member First Nation to be represented by the organization. Most of the First Nation members are located near Nipigon but others live in different parts of the country. Flying Post First Nation members are in the process of establishing their community on their reserve lands west of Timmins. The actual Flying Post First Nation reserve lands are located north-west of Timmins, Ontario along the Ground Hog River about an hour north of Malette Road just outside the city.
About Matachewan First Nation
Matachewan First Nation is an historic northern First Nation community that has served as the traditional home for many First Nation families. It is still home to a growing community and the First Nation is actively taking part in partnering and working with the resource development industry in establishing mutually beneficial agreements. The First Nation also prides itself in being able to work with industry with a focus on protecting the environment and ecology on their traditional lands in northeastern Ontario. The community is located approximately 30 kilometers southeast of the town of Matachewan and about 60 kilometers west of Kirkland Lake off of Highway 66.