Three Wabun Tribal Council First Nations and Augen Gold Corporation signed an exploration agreement on July 9. The signing took place at the Wabun Tribal Council office complex in Timmins, Ontario.
Mattagami, Brunswick House and Flying Post First Nations, through the signing of this agreement with Augen Gold, have the benefit of working with the company from the very onset of exploration and development on the Jerome Mine site, west of Gogama.
Mattagami First Nation has been communicating with Augen Gold since September 2007 to negotiate this agreement. An exploration agreement, which is generally struck in the very early stages of development, deals with benefits, guidelines and the commitment to negotiate an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) if the property proceeds to a mining operation.
The exploration agreement provides to the First Nations consulting and advisory services, employment and training, business opportunities, ongoing communication and environmental consultation. Augen Gold is also providing shares of the company to the Wabun First Nations.
Chief Walter Naveau and lead negotiator Chris McKay are excited about the potential in working with Augen Gold.
“I am very happy with and proud of the job that Chris McKay and Shawn and Jason Batise have done in providing an environment where positive agreements like this one with Augen Gold are negotiated from the onset of developments on our territorial lands,” said Chief Naveau.
Before Augen Gold started exploration on its Jerome Mine site, company leadership decided to consult with Mattagami First Nation and ultimately with Wabun Tribal Council’s three First Nations.
“It is important for Augen Gold to have an exploration agreement in place with our First Nation neighbours so that we all benefit and there is a mutual understanding as we hopefully make our way to the development of a mining operation,” said Michael Fowler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Augen Gold.
Mattagami First Nation leadership and Wabun Tribal Council have paved the way for consultation and potential partnering with resource-based companies considering or involved in initiatives on or near First Nation lands. Wabun, as
part of a development strategy, has promoted a willingness to consult and negotiate with resource-based companies with a focus on benefits to First Nations, sound environmental practices and meaningful partnership.
“It is gratifying to see a company like Augen Gold coming to our Wabun First Nations early on in their exploration. Mattagami leadership and Chris McKay have done an excellent job in assisting to bring Augen Gold to the table and we anticipate a full range of benefits for our community members as a result of our ongoing relationship with the company,” said Shawn Batise, Executive Director of Wabun Tribal Council.
Chief Rene Ojeebah of Brunswick House First Nation commented that the agreement with Augen heralds a new era for his community.
“This is a new beginning for our people. In the past, we were rarely consulted or included in any resource-based initiatives on our lands. I have great hope that this will mean employment and long-term benefits for our people,” said Chief Ojeebah.
Chief Murray Flay of Flying Post First Nation pointed out a new reality with government and resource-based developers is providing hope to his First Nation members.
Wabun Tribal Council is a regional territorial organization that represents seven First Nation communities in northeastern Ontario and is directed by its respective Chiefs.
Augen Gold Corporation is a gold exploration mining company that holds mining claims over a 45-kilometre length in townships 40 kilometres west of Gogama. The company’s claims include the site of the former producing Jerome Gold Mine. Augen Gold’s objective is to explore the Jerome Mine in order to determine the gold potential and to continue to expand its property portfolio with prospective mineral assets.