Aboriginal group optimistic about mining industry

The mining industry has seen its activity slow in Canada as metal prices fall to levels not seen in more than a decade.  Some mining companies are attempting to sell mines and mineral projects to balance their financials, adding to concerns and uncertainties.  Many attribute the downturn to lower demand from China.

Notwithstanding current economic impacts in the mining industry, one Aboriginal group, the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association “CAMA” is optimistic.  They believe the worst is behind.  Once metal demand and a turnaround occur, the sector will see a changing legal landscape that is poised to help the industry and attract renewed investment.

CAMA President Hans Matthews says, "Since CAMA began in 1992, we have been through these economic ups and downs. We’ve seen that each time the industry has come out stronger.” 

CAMA was formed in 1992 in response to conflicts between Aboriginal groups and mining companies over the use of mining lands and the lack of benefits going to Aboriginal communities from mineral exploration and mining projects, add to this, the mining industry was in a brief recession in the early 1990’s that caused the industry to explore solutions in order to become viable again.  

"The Oka Crisis in 1990 created uncertainty for many in Aboriginal communities, the mining industry and governments at that time. The economic recession also did not help," says Matthews who is also a geologist and member of the Wahnapitae First Nation in Ontario.

Since forming CAMA in 1992, in collaboration with more than 50 Aboriginal communities, national Aboriginal groups and several mining companies, membership has swelled to well over 200 members.

Between 30 and 50 companies related to the mining sector participate annually as sponsors and exhibitors at CAMA’s events.

 CAMA has been an ongoing driving force that brings Aboriginal communities and mining companies together.  Our organization has helped both sides to work together to seek support for each other's objectives.

“Mining companies seek certainty of access to lands and minerals to secure investments.  Aboriginal communities want to be consulted and provide consent to development on their lands.  This will provide Aboriginal communities a foothold on benefits allowing them to jointly manage the environment with companies and to obtain long-term benefits for entire communities.  All of this under the backdrop of Environmental Protection." says Matthews.

“Over the past decade, the mining industry has seen a strong business case for engaging and working with Aboriginal communities.  The industry has a long practice of improving their relation with communities, and our experience shows that this continued improvement yields benefits for all," Matthews said.

This year the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association is hosting its 23rd Annual conference on November 22-24 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The theme "Leading Resource Management, Protecting our Environment", will bring together over 500 delegates including Aboriginal community leaders, elders, youth, mining company executives, economists, legal, environmental groups and government representatives.  CAMA welcomes New Gold as the Lead Corporate Sponsor this year.

Discussions will include the state of communities and industry, and also address environmental processes, not only as they relate to environmental assessment, but over international and territorial boundaries.

A key topic will be how all of the above can occur under the changing legal and political landscapes, as it relates to Aboriginal use, occupation and court recognition of title.

The 23rd Annual Conference "Leading Resource Management, Protecting Our Environment" will highlight leading practices in the Aboriginal community and mining industry to achieve success. There will be a discussion on a way forward, and how benefits can jointly be achieved on the lands that all parties rely on.  

This year’s conference will also highlight the ultimate common need to manage and protect the environment to the benefit of future generations. With a growing resurgence in global demand for minerals comes the need for mining companies to access and develop minerals on Aboriginal lands.

“With Aboriginal communities and Industry working together, we all stand to benefit. The future is bright,” asserted Matthews.

Founded in 1992, the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA) is an Aboriginal, non-profit organization which seeks to increase the understanding of the minerals industry, Aboriginal communities’ paramount interests in lands and resources.  Through increasing this awareness, all parties will benefit.  CAMA acts as an instrument for the advancement of Aboriginal community economic development, mineral resource management and environmental protection.

Visit our Website at www.AboriginalMinerals.com for more information about CAMA and this year’s conference.

For further information contact

Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association

Attn. Media Coordinator

[email protected]

Toll Free: 1-844-443-6452

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