Mineral Exploration

Winter 2013

Mineral Exploration is the official publication of the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/225045

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Page 107 of 119

A ME BC's Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook, which has been in development for more than a year, will make its long-awaited appearance in 2014. According to Sheriden Barnett, senior director, Aboriginal relations and land use, who, along with Rick Conte, vicepresident of AME BC , has managed a working group in the development of the guidebook, the publication is for mineral Because there is a diversity of needs, the guidebook provides the resources to begin to address them. It is intended to be a living document, changing as needs and interests change, and as our understanding of effective engagement approaches evolve." Association members will benefit in a number of ways from the guidebook, says AME BC chair Michael McPhie. "Strategies for effective engagement historical context, the business case for consultation, and guidance on who to engage with and how. "Over the years, AME BC has played a leading role in Aboriginal engagement," says Emery. "The guidebook builds on previous work the organization has undertaken on engagement." In 2005, the BC & Yukon Chamber of Mines (now AME BC) published Mineral Exploration, Mining and Aboriginal Community Engagement: A Guidebook, and in 2009, AME BC published the Aboriginal Engagement Toolkit. Barnett says many of the challenges identified and addressed in the guidebook are being faced by mineral explorers across the country and elsewhere in the world. "Canada has a rich history of treaty-making and reconciliation of the rights and interests of First Nations with those of the broader society. This history has evolved into a process that continues to the present day." Barnett also notes that mineral explorers and developers are on the front lines of the current approach to reconciliation, which is largely about economic opportunities and sharing resource wealth fairly. "Mineral explorers are often in a position to witness the very real opportunities available to Aboriginal communities as a result of socially and environmentally responsible mine development." The Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook provides practical advice to mineral explorers who understand that successful mineral exploration today requires achieving a social licence to operate among the First Nations on whose traditional territories they are exploring. "The guidebook is intended to be an honest picture of very real challenges that are being encountered in the field," explains Barnett. "It is our attempt to assist mineral explorers in navigating through the differing viewpoints, expectations and concerns that they may face when conducting or preparing to conduct fieldwork." Some of the topics covered in the guide are: mineral exploration requirements in B.C. and applicable legislation and regulations; a brief summary of Aboriginal history, culture and law in B.C.; concrete guidance on Aboriginal engagement through each stage of exploration, from Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook AME BC'S NEWEST PUBLICATION OFFERS GUIDANCE TO MINERAL EXPLORERS FOR PUTTING THEIR BEST FOOT FORWARD WITH B.C. FIRST NATIONS BY PETER CAULFIELD explorers working in B.C. or who want to work in B.C. "The purpose is to provide principled guidance and practical advice to mineral explorers in B.C. on how to conduct Aboriginal engagement throughout the exploration process," explains Barnett. The new guidebook represents a refocusing of the mineral exploration and development industry's engagement efforts on the original purpose: to understand Aboriginal concerns and mitigate the potential impact of exploration activities on Aboriginal and treaty rights through effective dialogue. "The guidebook does not provide hard-and-fast prescriptive solutions," adds Barnett. "Each First Nation and Aboriginal group is different and each mineral exploration project is different. 108 p108-109_AboriginalEngagement.indd 108 with Aboriginal communities are consistently ranked by AME BC members as one of the most critical issues facing the industry today. The guidebook is a practical and easy-to-reference document that will help Association members to navigate the ever-changing landscape of industry-Aboriginal relations." The purpose of the Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook is threefold, adds A ME BC president and CEO Gavin Dirom: "The idea behind the guidebook is to help prospectors and mineral explorers; to engender mutual respect, understanding and, ultimately, trust; and to support the development of mutually beneficial business relationships." A ME BC director Kristy Emery, who was part of the working group that developed the guidebook, says it contains W I N T E R 2 013 13-11-27 10:19 AM

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