Rio and Centre of Excellence to grow indigenous participation in minerals development in North America

Dawn Madahbee Leach, General Manager, Waubetek and Rio Tinto’s Richard Storrie, President & CEO of the Diavik diamond mine at the Canada 2020 Annual Indigenous Economic Development Forum in Ottawa.

The Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development announced Wednesday that Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) will be a founding partner, supporting its work for indigenous communities that want to engage with and participate in minerals development.  

The Centre is being established by Waubetek, an indigenous development corporation in Ontario, Canada, as a hub of learning and research for first nations and indigenous owned businesses in North America. It will work to share knowledge on opportunities, risks and best practices in minerals development.   

The Centre was founded through a partnership between Waubetek Business Development Corporation, Laurentian University, and the Government of Canada.  

Waubetek works with 27 first nation communities, as well as aboriginal entrepreneurs off-reserve in a large area of northeastern Ontario. The Centre of Excellence will extend beyond this to supporting indigenous mineral development throughout Ontario and across North America.

A total of $1.8 million in funding for the Centre of Excellence has been committed from the Government of Canada through FedNor and NRCAN.

Rio Tinto is the first resources company to join the partnership with a contribution of $1 million over 5 years, as well as technical expertise to help the Centre provide insight and expertise to indigenous communities that are considering developing their own resources.  

Rio’s support will enable the Centre of Excellence to expand its focus from Ontario to work across North America by developing networks in British Columbia, Quebec and Arizona.

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