A proactive approach by Northgate Minerals Corporation has resulted in a cooperative relationship with the Matachewan First Nation of Ontario concerning the development of the Young Davidson mine. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony was held in Matachewan First Nation on Tuesday March 25 and it included signatories from the First Nation, Wabun Tribal Council and Northgate Minerals.
Northgate Minerals made a decision early on in their Young Davidson mining venture to consult with and involve Matachewan First Nation.
The MOU sets the agenda for conducting negotiations for an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) which will include such topics as employment, training, business opportunities and financials.
“Northgate’s corporate goal is to find, develop and operate mines in an environmentally responsible and socially sustainable fashion, while providing economic benefits to the surrounding community and an appropriate rate of return to Northgate’s shareholders. Right from the start of the Young Davidson Project, a major part of our efforts has been focused on the development of a special relationship with the Matachewan First Nation,” said Chris Rockingham, Vice President, Business Development and Exploration, Northgate Minerals.
Matachewan First Nation Chief Elenore Hendrix and her First Nation Council have been involved with the developments at the Young Davidson mine for more than a decade.
“We are very happy with the positive and progressive initiatives taken by Northgate Minerals in involving and negotiating with our First Nation. For so many years our people have been overlooked in resource developments that have taken place on our traditional lands, so it really is reassuring to be closely involved with Northgate’s development nearby,” said Chief Hendrix.
Wabun Tribal Council Executive Director Shawn Batise, who is also a member of Matachewan First Nation, said, “This is a new age in terms of opportunities for First Nations and we are resolved to make the most of it. At the same we are also committed to working with our partners to ensure that the utmost is done in terms of environmental, safety and benefit issues. This kind of promise brings hope to our First Nations and in the long term our members will incur benefits far into the future.”
The Young-Davidson mine site, which is located 15 kilometers south of the First Nation, is a well-established gold mine site that from the early 1930s to the 1950s generated over a million ounces of gold and processed almost 10 million tonnes of ore. After this early boom was over, there was sporadic exploration and some small-scale mining in the area.
In November 2005, Northgate Minerals acquired the Young Davidson property. The company actually began consultations with Matachewan First Nation before acquiring the new property. Previous draft agreements regarding the Young Davidson property and Matachewan First Nation were updated and redeveloped to establish a better working relationship.
The Young Davidson mine is presently in what is known as an advanced exploration and engineering stage. Currently, the company is working on a pre-feasibility study for future development with a planned start-up date of 2010 and a projected 10-year-or-longer mine life. The fully operational mine is expected to have a target annual output of 150,000 to 200,000 ounces of gold minerals per year.