Wally Schumann: Fortune Minerals Socio-Economic Agreement Signing

January 29, 2019
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Check Against Delivery

Good morning everyone.

Before I begin, I would first like to acknowledge that we all have the privilege of attending AME Roundup on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and  tSLAY-wah-tooth First Nations.

I would like to take a moment to welcome and thank the NWT Indigenous governments who are here this morning and who have made the trip to Roundup this year.  The Government of the Northwest Territories is proud to work in partnership with Indigenous governments and your presence here demonstrates our strong partnership and commitment to continue to work together.

I’d also like to welcome and extend a big thank you to Fortune Minerals’ President and CEO Robin Goad for joining us to celebrate the signing of this Socio-Economic Agreement. It has been a long time coming and I am glad we’re here today to celebrate this.

And of course, I would like to recognize my Cabinet colleagues who also have a role to play with SEA’s – Minister Caroline Cochrane, who couldn’t be here because she is at an FPT and Minister Glen Abernethy.

For those of you who don’t know, I’d like to explain briefly what this agreement means that we’re signing today.

When a major resource development in the Northwest Territories makes its way through environmental assessment, and regulatory approvals, the Government of the Northwest Territories asks for recommendations addressing socio-economic commitments and monitoring in the form of socio-economic agreements.

As the Minister responsible for the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is my job to lead the department as they negotiate these agreements on behalf of the GNWT. 

Included in this agreement are measures to broadly address local and Indigenous employment, business spending, training and education, and wellbeing to be contributed by Fortune Minerals once their project ramps up.

The agreement also addresses the commitment our government has made to deliver programs and services to support a well-trained, healthy, local workforce to support the company in meeting these goals.

This is not our first Socio-Economic Agreement. After this one is signed today, that will bring our total active SEA count to five. If you look at examples of the successes from SEAs from our diamond mines, for instance – you can see that residents from across the NWT have benefited billions in economic activity and local contracts, tens-of-thousands in local employment years, and millions in community investments spurred in-part by these kinds of agreements.

Just as important is the mutual understanding between government and industry that providing benefits is valuable not just to us, but to those who do business here.

It is reflective of the spirit of partnership at the core of how we do business in the NWT — and it’s exactly why we’ve been recognized for this approach on the global stage.

I believe it’s fitting that today, at one of Canada’s premier mining industry events, that we’re celebrating a major milestone on the road to Canada’s first primary Cobalt mine.

It’s a strong reminder that while diamonds have dominated our territory in recent decades, we are much more than just diamonds.

The Northwest Territories has mineral potential that will position it as a primary economic driver for our country.

There are many promising exploration projects underway across the territory. Some play to previous strengths like gold and base metals. Others show our potential to supply the technology metals needed for a green economy, while reducing dependence on the unstable regions supplying them today.

We have a wealth of economic resources and potential – and the payoff on investing in the North could be tremendous. Government and industry partners who invest in our future will benefit from our prosperity and development.

The Government of the Northwest Territories looks forward to continuing to work closely with Fortune as they work towards getting their mine off-the-ground and putting this agreement to work.

Thank you.