The Innu communities of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John signed on Thursday a Reconciliation and Collaboration Agreement with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). The agreement was named “Ussiniun”, which means “renewal” in the Innu language.
IOC is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (58.7%), Mitsubishi (26.2%) and the Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Income Corporation (15.1%).
IOC operations are integrated across a mine and processing plant in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador; a port and stockpile in Sept-Iles, Quebec; and a 418 kilometre railway that joins them.
The long term partnership agreement will provide the foundation for a new mutually beneficial relationship based on dialogue, openness and trust between the company and the two communities over coming decades, IOC said in a media release.
The agreement will facilitate increased participation by the Innu communities in IOC’s activities, delivering financial benefits and socio-economic initiatives across employment, training, and business opportunities.
IOC will work to increase the number of Innu people employed at its operations and to implement measures to help develop the capacity and competitiveness of Innu businesses.
The company will also collaborate with the Innu communities on environmental monitoring and protection as well as on preserving and promoting their customs and cultural practices.
“After 70 years of history, our Innu community of Matimekush Lac-John concludes this agreement with the Iron Ore Company of Canada, which will allow us to optimize our cultural, social and economic development,”
Chief Réal McKenzie of Matimekush-Lac John said.
“Ussiniun will undoubtedly benefit our future generations.”