In today’s installment of our multi-part Get To Know Us Better series, we share with you a story of social innovation catalyzed when our Porcupine mine engaged with the local First Nations community after a moose repeatedly found its way into the Dome pit.
When a young moose wandered into Dome pit at Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mine (PGM) in 2010, employees guided it out to safety. When the moose returned a few days later, some saw it as a sign. PGM is on Aboriginal treaty land, and moose are legendary symbols of endurance and survival. Bellows of the mighty moose signal opportunities to bring forth new ideas and share wisdom. So Goldcorp consulted Traditional practitioner and cultural advisor Martin Millen, and the rest is history in the making.
This single act of outreach set in motion a collaborative mix of technical expertise and natural harmony, science and spirituality. An ongoing convergence of tradition and innovation that is transforming design, planning and monitoring stages of mining and reclamation.
“The past six years have been an organic thought partnership,” says Mary Boyden, Indigenous Community Relations Manager at PGM and a cultural emissary of sorts. “Goldcorp imparts commercial, operational and technological knowledge that Elders can take back to their communities to guide decisions in resource development and business initiatives. Aboriginal teachings help inform Goldcorp’s environmental actions, community solutions and values mapping. It’s the best of both worlds for mutual, sustainable benefits, and positive global impact as well.”
In 2013, the AMAK Institute formed, an acronym for Anishanaabe Maamwaye Aki Kiigayewin – Ojibwe for ‘all people coming together to heal the earth.’ The think tank comprises Indigenous Knowledge Guardians from across Canada, who collaborate with Goldcorp as well as teams from Queen’s University, Wilfred Laurier University, Social Innovation Generation (SiG), Golder Associates and the University of Waterloo, which deems the learning circle a ‘social innovation.’
“The work that we’ve being doing with Goldcorp is unprecedented, in the sense that you just don’t get traditional, ceremonial elders and practitioners doing these kinds of things,” said Millen. “They’ve shown a lot of effort in making that possible.”
While AMAK exchanges tend to be informal by custom, in 2014 Goldcorp formalized a broad-spectrum PGM Resource Development Agreement, which specifies terms for sustainable success and collaboration with the Mattagami, Wahgoshig, Matachewan and Flying Post First Nations. Goldcorp has similar ‘Respect, Protect and Connect’ pacts in place with Indigenous communities everywhere it operates in Canada.
The key focus of AMAK is a three-pronged strategy to enhance land reclamation by strengthening communication and relationship-building, facilitating knowledge transfer and implementing collaborative environmental monitoring. The business arm of AMAK is Eighth Fire Solutions Inc., a company providing knowledge-based services to Goldcorp, government, academia and industries looking to benefit from a holistic approach to commercial, economic and social endeavours.
Always open to new ideas and methodologies that build on technical expertise and mining excellence, Goldcorp continues to work in partnership with thought leaders from around the world to create sustainable value.