Nishnawbe Aski award goes to leading partnership Minodahmun Development

By Sandi Krasowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Thunder Bay, Ont. — Minodahmun Development has been recognized as leaders in Indigenous business and presented with the Partnership of the Year award during the 31st annual Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) Awards.

Company CEO John Glover says winning the award is a great honour and is a testament to what can happen if local communities and neighbours work together for a greater vision of that community benefit.

Minodahmun is a 100-per cent First Nation-owned partnership that was created in 2019 when Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, and Ginoogaming First Nation entered into a long-term relationship agreement with Greenstone Gold Mines. 

“That agreement, which is also called the Impact Benefit Agreement, is like a contractual arrangement between the three First Nations and Greenstone mine that provides benefits and protection measures for the environment and culture,” he said. 

Glover called the project “generational,” for Greenstone which is known historically as a mining town. 

“This is a real opportunity for the region to develop one of the largest gold mines in Canada,” he said. 

“Some of the opportunities that have come along with the project are with employment, training and contracting opportunities for the construction and operation of the mine. There’s also revenue sharing between the mining company and the First Nations so they actually benefit from the profits of the mine and a whole slew of environmental protection measures that ensure the environment and the cultural sites, lands and waters are protected.”

Minodahmun launched the Indigenous Workforce Development Program in 2021 that aims to assist members in accessing education training, apprenticeships, and work placement programs to improve work readiness while removing barriers to employment. To date, Minodahmun has worked with more than 200 people helping 106 of them to find employment as heavy equipment operators, electricians, plumbers, mill rights, welders, bus drivers and caterers.

Glover added that Greenstone provided two parcels of land in Geraldton to develop a commercial and industrial plaza, wholly owned by Minodahmun, that will help to service Greenstone Gold Mine while serving as a mining hub for the area to service the mining sector.

The commercial industrial plaza will feature service businesses that can provide things like fuel, restaurants and some retail. The industrial plaza will consist of  fabrication shops and warehousing supplies. 

“One is about a 27-acre parcel, and the other is about 11 acres and they’re right beside the mine,” he said. “It’s almost like a little bit of land being given back in a way as part of the deal as well.”

Minodahmun’s goal is to generate own-source revenue for each First Nation to help address community needs, including social programs, infrastructure, and housing.