THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Minodahmun Development, a 100% First Nation–owned partnership created by Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, and Ginoogaming First Nation, is pleased to announce that it has won the Partnership of the Year award at the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) Awards on March 24, 2023. This marks the 31st year of the NADF Business Awards—Canada’s longest running Indigenous Business Awards program.
“The Partnership of the Year award is a prestigious honour for us; we are very proud to be recognized by such a great organization like NADF,” said Minodahmun President and Board Director Joe Donio. “The award acknowledges the hard work our team and communities have put in to maximize First Nation participation in major projects in Greenstone.”
Minodahmun was created in 2019 when the three First Nations signed a Long-Term Relationship Agreement with Greenstone Gold Mines. This agreement provided consent to the construction of an open pit gold mine in Geraldton and a variety of benefits and protection measures to the First Nations. Minodahmun was formed as a vehicle for the First Nations to advance contracting and employment at Greenstone Gold Mines to provide community benefits.
“Mining has always been a challenging and contentious industry for our First Nations; historically we’ve been economically marginalized with little or no opportunity. With the development of Greenstone Gold Mines, we set out to change that by creating Minodahmun and enhancing our involvement through business, training and employment,” said Chief Sheri Taylor from Ginoogaming First Nation. “I’m very proud of Minodahmun for receiving this award, it truly shows that when we work together, amongst our First Nations and with industry, we can learn to co-exist,” said Chief Dorothy Towedo from Aroland First Nation.
Minodahmun aims to generate own-source revenue for each First Nation owner to help address community needs, including social programs, infrastructure, and housing. The profits of the partnership are shared equally between the three First Nations. Minodahmun is focused on capacity building through training, education, employment, and mentorship for community members. “Minodahmun is an example of what can happen when First Nations collaborate and unite. Our three Chiefs and Councils had a vision of working closely with our neighbouring communities to ensure we all benefit from the mine,” said Board Director Peter Rasevych.
Minodahmun has over 40 active partnerships or joint ventures with a wide range of companies, from multinational corporations to local community businesses. Partnerships are focused primarily on the mining, construction, and utilities sectors. All companies that wish to conduct business with Minodahmun must have a strong commitment to building real capacity in the First Nations. Minodahmun has completed contracts for Greenstone Gold Mines, Hydro One, TC Energy, Enbridge, Tombill Mines and the Government of Canada. “We are very fortunate to have some incredible partners who have taken a progressive approach to doing business with our First Nations. They understand the importance of inclusion and working with our people,” said Chief Theresa Nelson from AZA.
In 2021, Minodahmun launched the Indigenous Workforce Development Program (IWDP). The IWDP assists members in accessing training, education, apprenticeship, and work placement programs to help enhance work readiness and remove barriers to employment.
“What really sets Minodahmun apart from other partnerships is our unwavering commitment to training and employment. While we are very proud of what we have done from a business standpoint, our greatest achievement is without a doubt the IWDP. Seeing our members succeed and find good jobs is what it’s all about,” said Board Director Mark Bell. As of December 2022, the IWDP has trained over 200 participants and helped 106 Indigenous people secure employment.
“The NADF Partnership of the Year Award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. This award belongs to the First Nations. Without the strong leadership of the three Chiefs and Councils and the involvement of our incredible community members, we would not be here today,” said Minodahmun CEO John Glover, “and we feel the best is yet to come.”
For more information about Minodahmun Development, please visit www.minodahmun.ca