September 28, 2023
At NetBenefit Software, we are committed to enhancing the connections between the community, industry, and government. But what does that commitment truly entail?
A significant portion of our efforts is directed towards the mining industry, which currently stands as the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous individuals in Canada. Closer to (our) home, the Voisey's Bay mine and concentrator holds a prominent position as the primary employer in Labrador. Remarkably, over 80% of its workforce hails from the surrounding area, and more than half of its employees are indigenous.
Such outcomes, however, don't happen without effort. Imagine undertaking a massive industrial project in a remote region, devoid of permanent residents, with limited infrastructure, formidable logistical and environmental challenges, and a scarcity of trained personnel. The Voisey's Bay project was guided by numerous agreements, with the Impacts and Benefits Agreements (IBAs) at the core. These IBAs, negotiated in partnership with the Innu Nation and the Nunatsiavut Government, play a pivotal role in outlining the reciprocal obligations between an Indigenous community and a mining enterprise. This framework aligns with the "free, prior and informed consent" (FPIC) principle articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
IBAs are comprehensive documents, encompassing terms and commitments spanning employment, training, working conditions, diversity, Indigenous workforce integration, cultural awareness, and considerations as specific as managing winter shipping routes to avoid disruption to traditional hunting practices. These obligations extend not only to the project operator but also to all suppliers and contractors, often numbering in the thousands.
The operators of Voisey's Bay - Vale, implemented the NetBenefit platform early in the construction phase and have continued to rely on it during ongoing operations, as well as for a new construction phase dedicated to underground mining. This platform drastically reduces the time and effort required to collect accurate data on agreement requirements and core socioeconomic indicators. Incorporating the right mindset and leveraging accurate data has resulted in more impactful outcomes. The impact of this project has reverberated deeply throughout Labrador, leading to substantial improvements in infrastructure, education, and healthcare within the region - while providing critical minerals to fuel build electric vehicles. The agreements and the company's commitment to fulfilling them have now become models for other mining endeavours, both within Canada and on a global scale.
We take pride in our role in this transformative journey and remain dedicated to fostering positive relationships that benefit all stakeholders and rightsholders.
Derek is likely the most experienced individual on the planet when it comes to tracking economic benefits. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a database wizard as well.
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The operators of Voisey's Bay - Vale, implemented the NetBenefit platform early in the construction phase into ongoing operations. The agreements and the operator's commitment has become models for other mining endeavours, both within Canada and on a global scale.