Agnico Eagle will put $5 million into Nunavut training, mental health

“We can empower Inuit youth”

Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank site in August 2019. (Photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle)

By Jim Bell

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., operator of the Meadowbank and Meliadine gold mines in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, will contribute $5 million to mine training and mental health in the territory, says the company’s CEO, Sean Boyd.

This money is in addition to the $5 million that AEM promised in 2014 to contribute to a Nunavut university, Boyd announced at the Northern Lights trade show in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 6.

“We believe that by investing in this type of social infrastructure, we can empower Inuit youth—help them build personal resilience and pride and develop a set of life skills that will help them meet the complex challenges of tomorrow,” Boyd said in his lunch-hour speech.

Boyd said these contributions are closely connected to each other and reflect Government of Nunavut priorities.

Agnico Eagle’s president and CEO, Sean Boyd, speaking on Feb. 6 at the Northern Lights trade show in Ottawa. (Photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle)

On the training component, he said the money will go to the mine training centre that the GN plans to build in Rankin Inlet.

That’s because lack of training is a major obstacle that bars many local people from taking advantage of technical and management opportunities at his company’s mines.

“We must ensure there is sufficient funding and flexibility to provide training that matches these opportunities with available workers,” Boyd said.

He also described how his company is already involved in training, including its popular pre-trade and apprenticeship program. Right now, three pre-apprentices, seven active apprentices and six graduates of that program are working for the company right now.

And he said that in 2019, the company spent $8 million to provide 25,000 training hours for its workforce.

At the same time, he said Nunavut youth need purpose and a vision for the future, and that suicide has affected many Agnico Eagle employees and their families.

That’s why the company has decided to spend money on mental health.

“We don’t have all the answers yet as to what form our support will take, but we will be reaching out to key stakeholders and partners to help us understand the best path forward,” Boyd said.

He said his company wants to empower Inuit youth and help youth build personal resilience, pride and life skills that will help them in the future.

As for the $5 million for a university in Iqaluit, which Agnico Eagle chair James Nasso announced about six years ago, that money is still on the table.

“And what about higher education? Canada is far behind other circumpolar nations in providing university education to its northern residents,” Boyd said.

And he said his company’s long-term goal is to have its mines operated and run by Nunavummiut.

“We know this is possible, we have achieved it at our sites in Europe and Mexico,” he said.

Agnico Eagle has paid $109M to Inuit orgs

In his speech, Boyd also told his audience about the money that Agnico Eagle has transferred to Inuit organizations.

“Since 2007, we have paid more than $109 million in royalties and fees to both Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and KIA [Kivalliq Inuit Association], Boyd said.

And over the next 15 years, he said the company expects to pay more than $450 million to Inuit organizations.

He also listed other ways in which Agnico Eagle has contributed to the economy of Nunavut:

• Investment of $7 billion in Nunavut since 2007.

• A workforce that has grown to 2,400 employees—the largest private-sector workforce in Nunavut—at Agnico Eagle and its contractors, of whom 438 are Inuit.

• An annual Nunavut payroll of more than $100 million, with almost $29 million going to Inuit employees.

• Spending of about $500 million on about 50 Inuit businesses, representing 57 per cent of Agnico Eagle’s spending in the Kivalliq region.

• The construction of about 200 kilometres of roads, making Agnico Eagle the largest road builder in Nunavut.

Boyd repeated remarks he made last month at the Canadian Club Toronto, where he called for a comprehensive Arctic strategy.

He said such a strategy must address three issues: building critical infrastructure, unlocking the power of training, and investing in cleaner and more affordable energy.

“We come to the table with open minds, mutual respect and trust to help bring prosperity and a better of quality of life to Nunavut and Canada’s North,” he said.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Manapik on

    I vote that Sean Boyd gets an honorary Nti beneficiary card. Money comes and goes.

  2. Posted by What has NTI done with their training money? on

    What has NTI done with their training money? how much did they get a few years ago $ 250M?….

    • Posted by Tell us, please on

      Beyond “what have they done”, what has NTI accomplished with that money? How many Inuit have received what training?
      How many have been trained as doctors?
      How many have been trained as dentists?
      How many have been trained as engineers?
      How many have been trained as accountants?
      How many have been trained as business managers?
      How many have been trained as mental health workers?
      etc.
      And beyond all that, how many of those who have been trained have remained in Nunavut?

      • Posted by more to it on

        In order to use the training money, students must be completing successfully high school and willing to pursue a post secondary education. College, University or Trade school alike. You cannot force success if there is no volunteer.
        To answer your question, ask the parents if their children went to school and if they received a, but you need to learn to walk before you can run diploma. I want to see Nunavumiut succeeding as well

  3. Posted by Curious on

    Since 2007 109M to NTI and KIA? The public needs to know what this money has been used for. Haven’t heard a peep on all this money for much needed education opportunities in the north.

    • Posted by Putuguk on

      Short answer, the money probably has not been used for anything yet and it is unknown if these revenues will be used for education specifically. The most recent NTI Annual Report published is for 2016/17. This is quite out of date for such a large and important organization (missing 2017/2018 and 2018/2019). It is sad we are getting more up to date information on these funds from a private non-Inuit company. The total revenues in the Inuit Resource Royalty Trust Fund back in 2017 was $7,472,492, so it can be seen that royalties are increasing rapidly.

      Mining royalties for the benefit of Inuit is a critical right obtained through the Nunavut Agreement. If Inuit cannot obtain tangible benefits from this money, support for the responsible use of Inuit Owned Lands and Inuit social and economic conditions generally will decline. That is what is happening today in our territory due to a lack of transparency and the manner in which royalties are being managed.

      Inuit society is at a cross roads where poverty is creating multiple problems for us that will linger for generations. Surely now is not the time for this money to sit in trust funds only to fatten up Inuit Org balance sheets. Perhaps our leaders have learned from public politicians that the trick is to wait for election times to dole out this money towards the issue of the day so they can buy our votes with our own money.

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