Differentiating through community alliances
The ongoing recovery cycle is compelling Canada’s leading mining companies to adopt unique strategies, ones that stand out from approaches used in the past.
We’re exploring regional trends that show how innovative players in the sector are responding to forces of change by developing strong—and in some cases untraditional—relationships in the communities where they operate, including partnerships with educational institutions, governments, community members and local businesses.
These alliances are supporting the protection of the environment, they’re bringing innovative improvements to the industry, they’re stimulating activity for local businesses and they’re essential to developing local talent and a skilled and loyal workforce for the future.
Companies that have a regional growth strategy, when combined with the trust of local stakeholders, have a competitive business advantage, and they’ll play a key role in creating stronger communities as the recovery takes hold.
Maxime Guilbault, Senior Manager, Assurance, PwC Canada
To get access to qualified workers in a competitive market, mining companies know they have to offer not only good wages, but also job security, professional development, access to new technologies and a work-life balance that’s supportive of families.
At the Abitibi mining camp in Western Quebec, Monarques Gold Corporation is an emerging gold producer with aspirations of becoming a major global player. To attract young employees, it's trying to connect with millennials by using new technology at its mines and demonstrating its commitment to protecting the environment, through initiatives like its partnership with Mission Monarch.
Meanwhile in Southwestern Quebec, IAMGOLD Corporation has been ramping up production at its Westwood mine, bringing not only positive economic news to the community in the nearby city of Rouyn-Noranda, but also helping create close ties with regional groups by tapping local mining expertise.
The organization, along with four other mining companies, together have committed nearly CA$10 million over seven years to a program called the Research Institute on Mines and Environment. The program involves the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and Polytechnique Montréal and focuses on improving site clean-up and training the next generation of mine employees.
IAMGOLD is hiring highly trained graduates of the UQAT-Polytechnique’s Research Institute and has also used the research results to improve its own reclamation tailings processes and to cut costs.
President & CEO, Monarques Gold Corporation
Anaconda Mining Inc. serves as proof that all-Canadian mining companies can have a big impact on the communities in which they operate. Last year, the Toronto-based gold-mining, development and exploration company produced approximately 16,000 ounces of gold in the Baie Verte mining district of Newfoundland and Labrador, where it’s worked hard to earn the respect of the region.
Last year, Anaconda made its first foray outside Newfoundland and Labrador with the purchase of the Goldboro Gold project in Nova Scotia, a deposit of more than 800,000 ounces of measured, indicated, inferred resources of gold. This entrepreneurialism is bringing underutilized assets to market and creating scores of well-paying jobs in the process.
Anaconda’s workforce is young relative to the broader industry (about a third of its employees are in their 20s), and it’s largely assembled from local talent. Anaconda has taken a focused approach in recent years to invest in training. The company’s most significant training initiative to date is Anaconda University. It’s an in-house training program that offers employees continuous education in their current position, as well as varied training in other areas like finance and management, to help its people become more well-rounded employees, and ultimately help the company at the same time.
Anaconda is at the forefront of an industry trend in which more companies are investing in regional partnerships with the communities where they operate, and its reputation as a community-first company in Atlantic Canada plays a crucial role in the company’s strategy to grow.
President & CEO, Anaconda Mining Inc.
In British Columbia, copper has played a key role in the rise of mining in the province. The red metal, accounting for about one-quarter of the value of the major metals mined in 2017, is helping miners open frontiers and serves as the economic lifeblood of many hinterland communities.
Demand for copper is expected to keep rising as emerging green industries develop, including wind and solar power generation and energy storage. In the town of Princeton, mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism form the base of the economy. And the community has experienced a major change since 2011, when the Copper Mountain mine began production, resuming copper mining in the region after a lengthy hiatus.
To the north, in Tahltan traditional territory, new copper production near Dease Lake is bringing benefits to communities. In early 2015, Vancouver-based Imperial Metals began shipping copper concentrate from its Red Chris mine, boosting the economy in northwestern BC. The company employs over 400 people and works closely with regional schools, including supporting training programs at the Northwest Community College School of Exploration & Mining. In return, the school is benefiting Red Chris mine by providing skilled workers for entry-level positions.
Companies see strong growth potential ahead in BC, both for the role its metals will play in the emerging clean-energy economy, and for its green electricity grid. Take an in-depth look at the state of the mining industry in BC in our report 50 years on... The mining industry in British Columbia.
President of Imperial Metals Corp.