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Whitesand First Nation and Impala Canada sign a community benefits agreement

The agreement between Impala Canada and Whitesand First Nation lays the foundation for socio-economic benefits including jobs, training and business opportunities.

THUNDER BAY — Whitesand First Nation and Impala Canada have signed a Community Benefits Agreement.

The agreement signed Wednesday in Thunder Bay provides a framework for their ongoing partnership, communication and consultation about Impala's palladium mine at Lac des Iles, 90 minutes north of the city.

The accord formally outlines how Whitesand's rights will continue to be recognized by the operation, and lays the foundation for future socio-economic benefits for the community, including jobs, education, training, and business opportunities.

"I am pleased with the agreement...and I look forward to continued partnership for the benefit of the Whitesand and Lac des Iles communities," said Whitesand Chief Allan Gustafson.

"The well-being of my members and the prosperous future of Whitesand First Nation are my priorities, and this agreement contributes to both."

Tim Hill, CEO of Impala Canada, said the company's relationship with Whitesand is important to the mine's success.

"The agreement creates new opportunities for shared prosperity and economic development, all while recognizing one another's rights, heritage and culture," he added.

The two parties said fundamental respect for the First Nation's heritage and culture, and encouraging the integration of traditional Indigenous knowledge in the operation of the mine, underlies the agreement.

Whitesand is an Ojibwa First Nation originally located on the northwestern shore of Lake Nipigon, near Mount St. John and the Whitesand River.

After flooding in the 1940s, a new reserve was eventually established just north of Armstrong with a land base of 615 acres, or about 250 hectares.

The Lac des Iles mines is one of only two known pure palladium sources in North America. It employs over 1,000 workers and contractors. 


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