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‘From Poverty to Prosperity’: How One First Nations Government is Redefining Mining

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
2 Comments| March 10, 2020

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Mining operations have existed in British Columbia’s far northwest corner for generations. The mineral-rich area also known as B.C.’s ‘Golden Triangle’ is so named as it is home to some of the richest gold ore bodies in the world, as well as abundant silver, nickel, copper and jade deposits.

At present, 20-plus junior explorers are active in the region, and they stand to benefit from three crucial infrastructure improvements:

  • the paving of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (the Northern half of the highway is a narrow road paved with sealcoat, not asphalt)
  • the opening of ocean port facilities for concentrate export at Stewart
  • and the completion of a $700-million high-voltage transmission line bringing power into the region.

It is also important to note for Golden Triangle investment players – retreating glacial ice and snow has recently uncovered rock formations that were previously inaccessible.

The First Nations Tahltan Central Government (TCG) made a detailed presentation to the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) on Monday, March 2nd – a report that the indigenous nation called “extremely productive and rewarding.”

Tahltan representatives met with several investors, industry partners, government officials and others to both build new relationships and assert that Tahltan culture, laws and practices must be respected when visitors wish to work in their traditional homeland. The TGC represents the 10 main Tahltan families (approximately 4000 members) in dealing with issues on Tahltan traditional territory.

Tahltan Territory is located in Northwest British Columbia and covers 95,933 km² or 11 percent of the province – roughly larger than the entire country of Portugal.

The afternoon session entitled ‘Poverty to Prosperity’ demonstrated how economic development has been nothing short of spectacular for the Tahltan Nation. Yet, the central government says they’re careful to oversee where and how any prospective industrial activities – both short-term or long-term – will take place.

The Tahltan have a long history in exploration and mining in their territory and have, for many years, worked successfully along side industry partners. The presentation told the story of Tahltan’s exploration and mining history, along with the trials and tribulations encountered along the way and how they have ascended to become leaders in the industry.

Today, they are equal partners with business, industry and government in stewarding one of the most prolific and profitable mining regions in Canada.

Photo: Dave Jackson, Stockhouse.

A Class of 2020 inductee into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, Jerry Asp of the Tahltan Nation, has spent decades advocating for indigenous peoples’ inclusion in the mining industry. Since 1965, Mr. Asp has focused on navigating his community’s concerns regarding development on traditional lands and the industry’s vast potential employment and business opportunities for his community.

During the 1980’s mineral and mining boom in BC’s Golden Triangle, Asp founded the Tahltan Nation Development Corp. (TNDC) to negotiate partnerships with mining companies for projects such as Goldcorp’s Golden Bear mine. TNDC is now the largest First nations-owned and operated heavy construction company in Western Canada. Asp also helped found the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association and the Global Indigenous Development Trust.

Click to enlarge
Photo: Dave Jackson, Stockhouse.

At PDAC 2020, Asp spoke of the history of his people’s achievements in transitioning from poverty to prosperity in large part because of the jobs and business opportunities afforded from the mining industry in the Golden Triangle. And he said that to take the community from poverty to affluence required four simple things:

“You need a vision, a strategy, a vehicle to move your strategy forward and you need a champion – somebody who will take the flak, usually political leadership.”

He shared his story of taking the Tahltan nation from a staggering 98 percent unemployment in 1991 to zero in 2006.

“80 percent of our members were on welfare. We had a serious drug and alcohol problem. We had high suicide rates and low education standards. By 2006 we had 95 percent employment in the winter and 100 percent in the summer.”

Jerry Asp, President, Gray Wolf Solutions Ltd. Co-Founder, Chair & CEO of Global Indigenous Development Trust. Photo: Dave Jackson, Stockhouse.

One of the main speakers at the event was Chad Norman Day – currently serving in his sixth year and third term as the elected President of the TCG and the spokesperson for the Tahltan Nation. He said his people have worked hard to ensure they are involved in development decisions on their land:

“We have a lot of (mining) activity in the territory. Prior to the Silvertip Mine shutting down, we had three of the 18 active mines in British Columbia within Tahltan Territory. Usually there’s 50 to 60 percent of the mineral exploration activities taking place in Tahltan Territory, even though our land base is only 11 percent of BC. Tahltan then puts together a three to four-step process to our members – we introduce the company, introduce the opportunity, put together a term sheet, and every step of the way our people are saying ‘go to the next step.’ We go above and beyond to make sure our people are properly informed about mining decisions. And we’ve closed over $3 billion dollars in agreements over the past 10 years with industry. A lot of major construction and a lot of major agreements with companies, which is good for everyone.”

Chad Norman Day, President, The Tahltan Central Government (TCG), speaking at PDAC Forum. Photo: Dave Jackson, Stockhouse.

All in all, the seminar offered attendees and mining industry executives a unique insight into one indigenous community’s inspiring success storiy of being lifted from poverty to prosperity…due in no small part to its government’s visionary leadership and the economic opportunities the Canadian mining industry provides.

PDAC 2020: Stockhouse Investor Alert!

Stockhouse Media reported LIVE from the PDAC convention floor all week with interviews, live reports, and news updates from all of the industry’s major movers and shakers.

The entire industry descended upon Toronto for four days of speakers, short courses, technical sessions, investment opportunities, and unparalleled networking events in the packed halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 1 - 4, 2020.

The annual convention has been held in Toronto Canada every year since it premiered in 1932, and has grown in size, stature and influence and today is the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry. To this day, Toronto, along the TSX / TSX-V, continue to be the world’s effective headquarters for mining companies and mining finance.

In 2019, Stockhouse Media videotaped over 90 interviews from the floor at PDAC. And this year, Stockhouse Media’s Cindy Broad vodcasted live again with some of the biggest and brightest names in the metals and mining space! Stay tuned!


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Tellement. Plutôt que de regarder la mère la Terre, en se donnant un rôle passif et en attendant leur chèque de BS, ils créent de la richesse pour leur communauté, ils se valorisent et se prènent en main.
March 11, 2020

So nice to see the Indigenous people acting and living like Canadians
March 10, 2020

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