Naicatchewenin Development Corp. (NDC) has partnered with Kingfisher Lake and Wunnumin Lake First Nations in the Treaty #9 area, along with Canadian Security Management, to form Synterra Security Solutions—a new company which offers specialized security services for mining operations.
And the partnership already is off to a promising start, with Synterra having secured its first contract with Gold Corp.’s Musselwhite Mine, located about 130 km north of Pickle Lake.
Tony Marinaro, chief business development officer for NDC, said the partnership saw its beginnings early last fall when NDC assessed the needs of mining sector here and elsewhere in Canada.
It met up with Canadian Security Management, which was looking to expand, provided their case, and, upon learning that two other First Nations were on the same path, struck up a partnership.
“Having some insight into the needs of the mining sector, we realize that security is something that’s going to be a required service at every different stage of operation,” Marinaro explained.
“It’s doesn’t have to be a full-blown mine development before you need security,” he stressed. “There’s a lot of issues when you’ve got people living in camps, and things like that.
“There’s a level of security required.
“And it’s not just security,” Marinaro added. “There’s different multi-tasking, value-added processes.
“These individuals are trained for first-aid and mine rescue—it’s a premium security service that’s being offered.”
“Anytime NDC looks to create partnerships, we look to partners of integrity and excellent work history,” said NDC CEO Jeremiah Windego.
“We want to buy into companies that are good, and make them better.
“Of all of our partnerships, that’s the foundation that we want to build on,” Windego added. “And that’s exactly the type of partnership we’ve found here with Canadian Security Management.”
“The thing that attracted us to [Canadian Security Management] is their vast experience and history in regards to some of the contacts that they’ve held—having done security for the G8 summit and for CBC and for some very large organizations throughout Canada, not just Ontario,” noted Marinaro.
“Diamond mines in the Northwest Territories—there’s mining history there and that’s the sector that we’re concentrating on,” he added. “But to be able to work the G8, you have to be pretty substantial. . . .
“We felt these were the right guys.”
“The synergies are good,” agreed Scott McIntosh, president of Canadian Security Management, a St. Marys, Ont.-based company which has operated for more than 20 years and has wanted to expand into Northwestern Ontario.
“It’s a win-win-win,” he enthused. “We believe the client’s going to benefit from this, we believe that the community is going to benefit from this, our company is, and there will be localized employment.”
Canadian Security Management brings to the table the experience and expertise to get Synterra Security Solutions off the ground.
“It’s the same business approach we’ve taken in the past in regards to having the experts come to the table in that specific sector, and Scott and his organization bring that, along with the licensing that’s required,” said Marinaro.
McIntosh said at this point, the partners are using Canadian Security Management as the avenue for the licensing until they get the stand-alone security licence through the province.
“Nonetheless, the services are there; the capacity to manage and to run the operation is all in place,” stressed Marinaro.
“We will be setting up a local office in whatever community we’re contracted in.”
For now, Synterra Security Solutions has employees available to work through Canadian Security Management. But the goal is to develop the company into a stand-alone security agency with trained employees drawn from area communities.
“A training plan has been developed. We have an actual training format to bring people in from being ‘green’ to a point where they’re licensed in numerous areas of security,” Marinaro explained, noting the skills learned will be transferable to other careers.
“The nice fit of it is is that we’re an experienced player already,” noted McIntosh. “If you get a contract that you start right away, we can staff it right now with the goal of integrating local hires and training throughout the process.”
He noted Canadian Security Management’s aim is to help companies in a cost-effective way, and provide security along with other related services, like first aid and mine rescue.
This will hold true with Synterra Security Solutions, with Canadian Security Management offering in-house training to develop a skilled staff from Naicatchewenin and other area communities.
Marinaro said the training process will start in the next few weeks, with the company looking for clients to develop a labour pool it can draw from.
McIntosh said the short-term goal for Synterra Security Solutions is to have at least three projects on the go.
And this goal already is looking attainable, said Marinaro.
“It looks positive, it looks great,” he enthused. “It’s another area of the sector that we’re trying to provide services for.
“For these companies to come in from out of town, it only makes sense to hire local people.
“You can bring someone in from another province, from another city,” noted Marinaro. “Are they going to make their home here? Maybe, maybe not.
“If we can increase the population, that’s great. But it’s the people here that need the work,” he stressed.
“It’s about trying to diversify the market here so that people have the opportunity for employment.”
Marinaro added the partners are looking for Synterra Security Solutions to be a national company.
“We’re not limiting ourselves to Rainy River District,” he remarked. “We’re looking to make this a national company.
‘We’re looking to Alberta, and beyond Ontario and Rainy River District.
“To be in the Treaty #9 area, the ‘Ring of Fire’ area, it’s a step up,” he said. “We’re positioning ourselves to take a lead role in the sector.”
NDC, meanwhile, has other irons in the fire, and the public can expect to hear more about other projects in the near future.
“We are definitely very ambitious in our business ventures, but we want to stay true to our values and direction that has been given to us by the community,” Windego said.
“Those values are to create capacity, in not only our community but our partner communities in this area.
“Every opportunity that we look at, we try to see how we can best capitalize on obtaining benefit for different communities,” he added.
“Some communities are at different levels of capacity and we really see NDC as being that bridge to help communities that need capacity to be able to participate in some of these economic opportunities.”
Windego said NDC has a strong history of working with other communities in the district and Treaty #9, and brings a strong management team to the table.
“We like to provide true partnerships that allow our partners to focus on what they do best,” he reasoned.
“We provide insight into the political structures of our area, as well as social issues that may plague a lot of the communities in our area, and bring insight on how to bring benefit where’s benefit is needed, whether it’s jobs, management or just support,” Windego said.