Following extensive engagement with First Nations leadership and industry representatives, the Manitoba government has released a protocol to define how Crown–Indigenous consultations will occur during all phases of mineral development, create certainty in order to advance projects in a timely way and ensure First Nations can be actively involved in all phases of development projects within their traditional territories, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.
“There is tremendous potential for wealth and job creation in mineral development in Manitoba, and we are working together with First Nation communities to ensure they can help create and share in the benefits of growth in this sector,” said Pedersen. “While the template will be consistent for First Nations who choose to take part, it can include customized aspects to reflect the unique governance, administrative and communication protocols of each community.”
The protocol includes a process guide and matrix for Crown-Indigenous consultation. The province will encourage its use in discussions with First Nations as a way to facilitate a mutually agreed-to consultation process for all phases of the mineral development cycle, from grassroots exploration to mine development.
The minister confirmed $500,000 in funding has been set aside to support First Nations in the development and implementation of protocol agreements.
This funding will enable the establishment of shared mineral management boards, with a focus on traditional land-use planning in areas of high volume of active mineral interests and demonstrated mineral potential. It will help to enhance First Nations’ knowledge and understanding of the mining cycle, and the potential economic growth opportunities arising from exploration and development. A key goal is ensuring First Nations can participate effectively in project-specific regulatory processes, including review of proposed mineral dispositions, permits and licence applications, the minister noted.
“Through the Look North strategy and Manitoba’s Economic Growth Action Plan, mineral development has been identified as a key opportunity for the long-term economic prosperity of our province and we are taking action to build on this potential,” said Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke. “We have already engaged with the federal government to advance key capacity development initiatives that will increase Indigenous participation in the mining sector.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to better prepare Indigenous communities to be actively involved in all phases of mineral development, and advance reconciliation by fostering a mutually respectful relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples.”
Clarke also noted Manitoba will continue to engage with the federal government and First Nations to facilitate trilateral discussions with respect to resource revenue sharing, including increasing First Nations’ fiscal powers to support direct financial benefits to First Nations on mineral development projects within their traditional territories.
To support the establishment of protocol agreements and advise the government on priority issues concerning mining and mineral exploration in Manitoba, the province is establishing a Liaison Committee on Mining and Exploration. The committee will provide expertise on land-use planning and regulatory matters, relationship building with communities, orphaned and abandoned mines, and exploration challenges and solutions.
The Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy highlights mining as a long-time net contributor to Manitoba’s economic prosperity and a top priority in the north.