Goldcorp Spurs Innovation
Goldcorp’s newest Canadian mine has a nickname that rolls off the tongue nicely, “the mine of the future”. The company’s Borden Lake Project, just east of the town of Chapleau, Ontario continues to draw attention as Goldcorp develops an environmentally sensitive, all-electric underground gold mine.
That objective, already underway, effectively means the mine of the future is actually the mine of today. That respect for the environment played a major role in talks with the region’s Indigenous stakeholders. In June, the company announced the successful signing of three Impacts and Benefits Agreements (IBA’s) with local First Nations groups including Brunswick House First Nation (BHFN), Chapleau Cree First Nation (CCFN), and Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation (COFN).
Those agreements in mid-2018 with respect to the development and operation of the Borden Gold project are a major milestone for all parties. Goldcorp now has collaborative agreements in place with 26 First Nations which assert Aboriginal and treaty rights in the vicinity of its operations in Canada.
Under the agreement, Goldcorp recognizes and respects the rights and interests these First Nations have around the Borden project site, and the three First Nation communities recognize and support Goldcorp’s rights and interests in the development and future operation of the mine. The agreement also reflects Goldcorp’s commitment to protecting the environment and supporting Aboriginal social and cultural practices in a spirit of continued collaboration.
“Successful relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, meaningful engagement, and they require sincere commitment from all involved. I’m pleased with the work accomplished by the group and I feel very proud that Goldcorp is the first mining company to partner with the Brunswick House, Chapleau Cree and Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation communities. We recognize the importance of nurturing our partnerships and collaborating with our project neighbours to ensure the sustainability of the local communities surrounding Borden Gold,” said Marc Lauzier, Mine General Manager at Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines, responsible for the development of Borden.
In the meantime, Goldcorp was named in October as a $5 million funding recipient of Canada’s Clean Growth Program. The federal grant was announced at a ceremony at Borden Lake in late October. The investment is designed to spur innovation in cleaner, more sustainable mining.
Head: Goldcorp spurs innovation in mining sector
“We believe the days of diesel use for underground mining equipment are numbered and electrification of our mobile fleet is a logical way to significantly reduce the mine’s environmental footprint,” said David Garofalo, Goldcorp’s President and CEO. “We are partnering with like-minded technology suppliers like MacLean Engineering and Sandvik, provincial and federal governments and First Nations to commercialize clean technologies, improve health and safety performance, and reduce GHG emissions with the aim of improving the viability, sustainability and profitability of our mines. It’s gratifying to see multiple levels of government support innovation and our vision of a safer, greener mining industry.”
The project would be funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, which is a $155 million investment fund for clean technology research and development and demonstration projects in three Canadian sectors: energy, mining and forestry.
“Improved environmental performance in Canada’s mining sector is one of the key paths to a low-carbon economy,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This project helps advance clean technologies to commercial readiness, creates good middle-class jobs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
Borden is a key part of Goldcorp’s plan to increase production by 20% by 2021 and is expected to begin commercial production in the second half of 2019.
Goldcorp has successfully spurred innovation in the mining sector through its #DisruptMining challenge and has invested over $10 million in a range of start-ups and new technologies in the past two years. #DisruptMining offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the sector, whether it’s unlocking exploration opportunities; finding operational and production efficiencies; reducing the environmental footprint and delivering on sustainability commitments; or developing alternative ways to finance capital projects.
Goldcorp’s Borden project will be starting a bulk sample extraction of up to 30,000 tonnes shortly, with the first sample expected by the end of the summer.
Brunswick House First Nation
Brunswick House First Nation is situated south of the Borden gold project on Hwy 101 East, near the town of Chapleau, Ontario. A member of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, BHFN is also affiliated with the Wabun Tribal Council.
Traditionally, members were mainly trappers and fur-traders. However, they are currently pursuing opportunities in mining, renewal energy, blueberry farming and provide for educational, health and employment & training opportunities for its’ membership.
Chapleau Cree First Nation
Chapleau Cree First Nation (Fox Lake Reserve) is situated 5 kilometres southwest of the town of Chapleau, Ontario. In 1989, the Chapleau Cree First Nation negotiated with the Federal and Provincial governments and the local municipality for land to establish a permanent community. Employment and infrastructure has increased over the years and the reserve now houses 30 homes, a senior’s residence (Mukeso House), Administrative Offices Band Complex (Isiah Saylor’s Complex), Health Centre, Public Works Garage, Water Treatment Plant, and the band-owned Pimii Kamik Gas Bar. They are part of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation.
Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation
Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation is situated near the town of Chapleau, Ontario. Their historical kinship and relationship with the land draws them west to the shores of Lake Superior and south to the shores of Lake Huron, rather than north into Cree territory to the shores of James Bay. They are part of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation.