A historic mining partnership has been created in the Sioux Lookout region.

Cat Lake First Nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (Big Trout Lake), Slate Falls First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation have joined the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord and nine regional mining companies to create the Sioux Lookout Mining Centre of Excellence.

The Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation says the new mining centre aims to provide training opportunities, jobs and financial support for residents looking to get into the mining sector.

“The goal of the partnership is to increase First Nation participation, opportunities, and inclusiveness in regional area mining projects, which strengthens everyone,” said Northern College President and CEO, Audrey J. Penner.

The Friendship Accord notes northwestern Ontario has seen a strong resurgence in the mining industry, and the communities all came together as they saw an opportunity for First Nations youth to participate in the growing workforce.

“This demonstrates the way in which we can join forces to become a stronger, more responsive educator of our own people in a workforce that awaits them,” said Jacob Dockstator, Executive Director of the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation.

Partners in the project include the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, Treasury Metals, First Mining, the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board, Superior Strategies, Northern College, Auteco, Evolution Mining, Major Drilling, Boart Longyear, Domtar, Puregold and Newmont.

“Our primary industry is providing Health Services, Education and Training, and E-commerce to 33 First Nation communities in the North who use Sioux Lookout as a Hub. The Sioux Lookout Mining Centre of Excellence is indicative of the Municipality’s positive and growing relationship with neighbouring First Nations and we welcome today’s announcement,” said Mayor Doug Lawrance.

The Sioux Lookout Mining Centre of Excellence will be operated in partnership with Northern College’s Haileybury School of Mines, letting Sioux Lookout residents access a long-established global network of leaders in the mining industry.