Métis sign mine deal

Duane Hicks

In a historic moment for area Métis, the Métis Nation of Ontario and Canadian Malartic Corp. on Friday formally signed a shared interest agreement with respect to the development and operation of the Hammond Reef gold project near Atikokan.
Yamana Gold Inc. vice-president Daniel Racine and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. vice-president Guy Gosselin (together representing the two partners comprising Canadian Malartic), along with MNO president Gary Lipinski, inked the deal during a signing ceremony at the Sunset Country Métis Hall here.
Also on hand were MNO Region 1 Coun. Theresa Stenlund, as well as MNO council presidents Joel Henley (Kenora), Marlene Davidson (Atikokan), Clint Calder, (Sunset Country), and Ron Robinson (Dryden).
The agreement, which has been in the making for many years, includes provisions on how the local Métis community will benefit from the development of the project and throughout the life of the mine.
These include employment and business opportunities, training and education initiatives, community and cultural supports, and financial participation.
The agreement also incorporates processes that reflect the shared commitment of Canadian Malartic and the MNO in protecting the environment and wildlife, as well as building a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship.
Lipinski called the agreement a “milestone” which has been achieved through much hard work and consultation.
“The MNO is proud of the positive relationship that has been built with Canadian Malartic that has led to this agreement,” he remarked.
“We believe the Hammond Reef gold project will bring much-needed economic opportunity to the region as a whole while also respecting the Métis community’s rights and interests,” Lipinski added.
“We see this as a ‘win-win’ for everyone.”
“Our community is pleased that our ongoing efforts in attempting to build a meaningful and lasting relationship in relation to this project have reached this point,” noted Stenlund, who is the MNO regional councillor for the Treaty #3 territory.
“I want to thank our citizens for their support, as well as the volunteer efforts of the local and regional Métis leadership who made this agreement a reality,” she added.
Davidson called the signing a “joyous day for the Métis,” and said she “is hopeful of a positive outcome.”
“We are very pleased that the team has been able to finalize this agreement, as a reflection of our long-term work with the Métis at Hammond Reef,” Racine and Gosselin said in a joint statement.
“This is a proud day for Canadian Malartic as we honour our key principles of contributing to communities and respecting the environment,” they added.
“The partnership we have cultivated with the Métis Nation of Ontario has been an integral part of the Hammond Reef gold project,” both stressed.
“We are honoured to call the Métis our partners and know that our relationship will result in a stronger project overall.”
Racine said the price of gold will rise in future and when it reaches the proper level, Canadian Malartic will be ready to build the project right away.
“There will be no delay waiting for any agreement, any permitting—it will be all done and approved,” he remarked.
“Thank you for your patience. We are really happy with what’s happening today.”
The Hammond Reef gold project is located 23 km northeast of Atikokan.
It is a large deposit that has an open-pit recovery potential.
The signing ceremony was followed by a fish fry and traditional Métis entertainment, including fiddlers and jiggers.