BHP Billiton Potash has cemented ties with three First Nations in the Treaty No. 4 Territory of Saskatchewan, Canada by signing an Opportunities Agreement at the Jansen Project.
Together, the BHP Billiton Potash Community Engagement team, the Kawacatoose First Nation, Day Star First Nation and Muskowekwan First Nation have built the first agreement of its kind in the Potash industry.
The aim of the agreement is to ensure that the peoples of the three First Nations gain from our presence at Jansen.
‘We in BHP Billiton have an unwavering commitment to sustainability, including supporting the communities around our operations,’ said BHP Billiton Potash Asset President Alex Archila.
‘We believe the signing of this agreement enhances our mutual capacity and ensures that we can work together to ensure the members of these First Nations can participate meaningfully in the opportunities that arise from the Jansen Project.’
Kawacatoose First Nation Chief Darin Poorman, Day Star First Nation Chief Lloyd Buffalo and Muskowekwan First Nation Chief Reginald Bellerose began the day with a traditional pipe ceremony on site with Potash Asset President Alex Archila, members of the First Nation councils, elders, the community engagement team and other guests.
‘First Nations are forging new relationships with industry in order to reinvest in our community,’ said Chief Darin Poorman of Kawacatoose First Nation.
‘This new agreement with BHP Billiton will create new and innovative ways to an an environmentally sustainable, healthier future for our people. We are striving for economic sovereignty and will establish new initiatives that will build capacity and better opportunities for our Peoples.’
The Opportunities Agreement also addresses sharing of information important to environmental management practices and includes governance processes for the parties to co-manage the implementation of the Agreement and report back to the members of the First Nations.
The day after the Opportunities Agreement was signed, the First Nations honoured BHP Billiton and Alex Archila with the presentation of a War Bonnet Headdress. Receiving a War Bonnet marks the highest respect to be earned by a First Nation and is highly symbolic of the relationship between BHP Billiton and the three First Nations.
BHP Billiton has recognised the great honour to have received this War Bonnet and will house it in a special display case at the Saskatoon office. Alex will also proudly wear it at Aboriginal PowWows throughout Saskatchewan.
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