Biigtigong Nishnaabeg’s Peter Moses speaks about entrepreneurship opportunities in the mining industry at the March 29 Anishinabek Nation Entrepreneurship gathering, held March 29 in Thunder Bay.

By Rick Garrick

THUNDER BAY—The winner of the 2017 Skookum Jim Award spoke at the Anishinabek Nation Entrepreneurship gathering held on March 29, in Thunder Bay, about opportunities for First Nations people in the mining industry.

Peter Moses, a Biigtigong Nishnaabeg citizen and Matawa First Nations Management mineral development information officer, was presented with the award on March 7, at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention in Toronto.

“100 to a 1, 000 jobs are required in the construction phase to build a mine,” Moses says, adding that it costs about one billion dollars to build a mine. “When it’s operating, there are anywhere from 200 to 400 people in place for the duration of the mine life. So what that means is there are opportunities and economics in these operations.”

Moses adds that one billion dollars were spent on exploration by the mining industry in Ontario during 2011, the highest peak of recent mineral exploration activity in the province.

“Even [the] searching out for mineral deposits can equate into economics in terms of entrepreneurship,” Moses says. “And the services can vary [from] small catering companies to exploration services of line cutting, geophysical diamond drilling, and expediting services.”

Moses says the construction of the new gold mine near Fort Frances is currently employing about 1,000 people. It will cost about one billion dollars to build once it is completed in late 2017.

“There are 10 projects [across the province] that are currently at a state where they are in near development stages,” Moses says. “They might not be in one year, but nevertheless, they are there and will get developed sooner or later. And that equates to economic development for anyone to capitalize on some services or supplies contracting to the mining companies.”

Moses encouraged people who are interested in possible entrepreneurship opportunities with the mining industry to attend the annual PDAC gathering during March in Toronto.

“It’s a must for anyone that looks to capture opportunities in the mining industry in terms of economic development,” Moses says. “[They] must go to this forum to see the magnitude of the potential there is.”

Moses was awarded the 2017 Skookum Jim Award at PDAC’s Awards Gala in recognition for his contribution to Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry through his work with companies, government and Indigenous communities over more than 50 years.

“I was overwhelmingly surprised and very honoured to have received an award of that category,” Moses says, noting that he started in the industry by helping his father with line cutting, staking claims, and setting up camps. “He was a contract exploration contractor and also before that time, my grandfather was a prospector. And his father prior to that in 1860 was a prospector.”

The Anishinabek Nation Entrepreneurship gathering was held to provide the Union of Ontario Indians education department with information for the development of curriculum on entrepreneurship.

The gathering also included a presentation on What is an Entrepreneur Warrior? by Michelle Richmond-Saravia, conference organizer and owner of beSuperior Consulting; two visioning exercises on Challenges for youth, women, men, and Elders in Entrepreneurship and Best Practices and Successes for youth, women, men, and Elders in Entrepreneurship; two speakers from the Union of Ontario Indians; and a Funding Panel Coffee Chat with representatives from PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Ontario Arts Council and Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.