Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 26, 2012 - 6:20 am

NTI bosses to sign new resource revenue trust deed for Nunavut Inuit

”History in the making”

Royalties from mining will now feed into the Nunavut Resource Revenue Trust. (FILE PHOTO_
Royalties from mining will now feed into the Nunavut Resource Revenue Trust. (FILE PHOTO_

Cathy Towtongie, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.,  and the rest of the organization’s executive members will sign the Resource Revenue Trust Deed in NTI’s Iqaluit boardroom Oct. 26.

The signing is “history in the making,” Towtongie said Oct. 25 at NTI’s annual general meeting.

With those signatures, NTI sets up its new Nunavut Inuit resource trust to hold royalty money generated from mining firms operating on Inuit-owned land.

The trust would be able to provide monetary benefits to land claim beneficiaries once it begins to receive royalty payments.

No date has been set for this to happen but Towtongie vowed on Oct. 25 that, if re-elected, she would support such an idea.

Direct payments to beneficiaries cannot flow unless a 75 per cent majority of delegates approve the payments at an NTI annual general meeting. If that vote passes, only NTI would be able to give out the money.

NTI’s resource revenue policy, which came into effect on April 1, 2011, said NTI and the regional Inuit associations will only grant companies mineral rights on Inuit-owned lands if these companies agree to pay a 12 per cent royalty on their net profits.

That royalty, and fees from future oil and gas development, would flow into the new trust.

Inuit associations in the Baffin, Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions will retain control over any money they receive over and beyond that 12-per-cent royalty.

Seven trustees will independently oversee the new trust — the NTI president and presidents of the three regional Inuit associations, along with three appointed trustees who may be from NTI or regional association staff, MLAs or MPs.

The trust details the many qualifications that these trustees must have to remain free of conflicts of interest.

About half the income from money put into the trust will be distributed every year to NTI and the three regional associations.

Money from the trust’s so-called “operating fund” will go out in three chunks: 30 per cent to NTI, 10 per cent to each regional Inuit association, and 40 per cent to those same regional associations on a per capita basis.

NTI’s resource revenue policy says the regional Inuit associations are supposed to spend the cash on “providing both near-term and long-term sustainable benefits.”

These may be “for economic, social, cultural, environmental or other purposes.”

But the money isn’t supposed to be spent on things that “duplicate or replace” things governments are supposed to pay for.

The rest of the money received would remain in an “endowment fund.” Interest from this fund wouldn’t be spent until it tops $100 million.

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