The Aboriginal Mining Guide


Even when people’s intentions are good and mineral prices are high, it is neither simple nor straightforward to generate lasting benefits for local communities from a mine. That takes careful planning. It takes persistence, clarity about one’s goals, and research. It takes carefully-prepared and -conducted negotiations that capture the whole range of benefits: revenues, training and jobs, business opportunities, and management experience and ability. With good negotiation and good implementation, a mine can be made to generate benefits that outlive the mine itself, and build the community’s self-reliance. With poor negotiation or poor implementation, a mine can divide communities, weaken families, and degrade social and environmental conditions.

In short, mining offers no quick fix to the challenges faced by Aboriginal communities. The Aboriginal Mining Guide will help Aboriginal communities to decide if they can gain lasting benefits from mining. It also explains how to negotiate with mining companies in order to gain those benefits while protecting the environment and their quality of life.

The Guide has seven modules:

  • Module 1: Putting the Community First explains four strategic issues that communities must resolve in order to make mining serve a long-term process of local capacity-building.
  • Module 2: Mining Basics outlines the five stages of mining and the opportunities and benefits possible at each stage, as well as the potential impacts on a community’s way of life, economy, and natural environment.
  • Module 3: Getting the Most out of Leverage explains the skills, values, and attitudes that can make a community’s leverage deliver solid benefits.
  • Module 4: Doing Your Homework details the research and planning necessary to negotiate effectively with mining companies.
  • Module 5: Negotiating Benefits Agreements covers the provisions that SEPAs (or “Impact Benefits Agreements”) involve and how they are negotiated.
  • Module 6: Negotiating Joint Ventures provides information specific to the negotiation and creation of jointly-owned businesses that provide services to mines.
  • Module 7: Key Learnings presents seven important conclusions about the role Aboriginal communities can take in mining. There is also a Glossary of technical terminology and an extensive Bibliography.

Each module is illustrated with examples from actual Aboriginal experience in the negotiation and implementation of SEPAs and Joint Ventures. Five experiences appear as case studies in an introductory module: the Ekati, Diavik, and Snap Lake Diamond Mines (Northwest Territories), Raglan Mine (Québec), Brewery Creek (Yukon), Voisey’s Bay Mine (Labrador), and Keno Hill Silver District (Yukon).

Note: the text of the January 1995 Raglan Agreement is also available from this page, with permission.

Published by the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal in collaboration with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

How to negotiate lasting benefits for your community
Lewis, Michael
Brocklehurst, Sara-Jane
Publication Date: