TIMMINS – There is a mining boom in the Northern Ontario and Native people are reaping some of the benefits of this development. Eight area First Nation (FN) people celebrated their graduation from mining training at a ceremony held at the Timmins Inns and Suites on Thursday, June 23, 2011. These graduates completed four months of training by Dumas Mining in a partnership program with Wabun Tribal Council, the Matachewan Aboriginal Access to mining jobs Training Strategy (MAATS) and Gold Corp Inc.
All of the graduates have been guaranteed positions with either Dumas Mining or Gold Corp Inc.
“On behalf of the graduates, we want to thank Wabun and our respective communities for the support and encouragement you have provided over the course of this training. We were also privileged to have the opportunity to work at Gold Corp for our training and we are thankful for the valuable instruction we received from Dumas Mining,” said graduate, Paul Minarik, Mattagami FN.
The graduates completed training in their respective fields to prepare them for a career in the mining industry. Six of the graduates completed training in Basic Underground Mine Training. They are: Courtney Batisse and Paul Denomme of Matachewan First Nation; Steve Denomme, Matachewan FN affiliate; Jean Loiselle, Mattagami FN; Paul Minarik, Mattagami FN affiliate and David Tookate, Attawapiskat FN. Steve LaRocque, Matachewan FN received training in Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice Training and Natasha Lefebvre, Metis affiliation completed training in Human Resources Assistant Training.
The graduation event was opened and closed with a prayer by Elder Marie Boucher, Matachewan FN, along with ceremonial drumming by the Matachewan Women’s Drum Group composed of Elder Boucher and Elders Vina Hendrix and Laura Flood.
The training program was initiated by Dumas Mining as part of the Ontario government’s Northern Partnership Training Fund. This graduation of eight trainees is the first under the fund in a series of training programs that Dumas is planning in conjunction with Gold Corp Inc and Northgate Minerals Corp. These upcoming training programs will focus on providing basic underground mining, heavy duty mechanics and office administrative training.
As part of the program, Dumas Mining partnered with Wabun Tribal Council to provide training for Aboriginal individuals.
“Dumas has always had a good relationship with Wabun Tribal Council and the partnership has had positive results. We are very happy with the results of this training today and we are grateful for the support and assistance we received from both Wabun Tribal Council and the MAATS team in making this possible,” said Stephen D. McGinn, Director of Human Resources, Dumas Mining
Wabun leadership was able to share its experience in mining training opportunities through the MAATS program in Matachewan FN, one of the tribal council’s member First Nations.
“Partnerships such as this establish a way forward for First Nations to have their members gain access to the experience and job skills that they need to take on high paying and secure employment. Dumas has opened up a lot of doors for our people in the mining field and we appreciate that,” said Shawn Batise, Executive Director, Wabun Tribal Council
On behalf of the Chief and Council of Matachewan First Nation, Councillor Jean Lemieux, Matachewan First Nation congratulated the graduates on their successful training.
“This training opens up all sorts of opportunities not just for immediate employment but for the long term career options in the mining industry. I see the look of hope on their faces today,” said Councillor Lemieux.
Theresa Hall, Mushkegowuk Council and former Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation, explained that this training has provided First Nation individuals with more than just practical information.
“I have always advocated for education and training for our people. Any valuable skills or training our people can acquire provides them and their families with a sense of self esteem and pride,” said Hall.
Gold Corp Inc. provided equipment and onsite job opportunities for the trainees at its Timmins mining operations.
“It was a privilege to help bring together these graduates and work with all our partners to give them a start in the mining world,” said Paul Miller of Gold Corp Inc.
Congratulatory messages were given by Jason Batise, Wabun Tribal Council and MAATS Board representative, Anne Batisse, Executive Director MAATS and Bert Gadoury, Rick Fauvelle and Jamie Mortson of Dumas Mining.
Article and photo by Xavier Kataquapit