Ekuanitshit community and Rio Tinto sign historic partnership agreement
The Innu community of Ekuanitshit and Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) today signed a historic partnership agreement named “Uauitshitun”, which means “mutual support” in the Innu language.
The agreement will generate economic development opportunities for the Ekuanitshit community and supports the future of RTFT’s mine in Havre-St-Pierre, in the Minganie region on Quebec’s North Shore. It was signed at a celebration held in Ekuanitshit, among community members, representatives from Rio Tinto and other dignitaries.
Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will support initiatives in four main areas: education and jobs, economic development, the environment and Innu culture.
Chief of the Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit Jean-Charles Piétacho said “The signing of the Uauitshitun agreement is a historic moment for the Ekuanitshit community. This agreement is based on the principles of mutual support and respect, while being resolutely forward-looking. In partnership with Rio Tinto, we will leverage our businesses and our skills to ensure the prosperity of our community and future generations.”
Rio Tinto Fer et Titane managing director Guy Gaudreault said “This agreement provides a framework for collaboration and the foundation for a long-term partnership between Rio Tinto and the Ekuanitshit community. It will bring significant benefits for the people of Minganie and help support the future of our mine, which plays an important role in the region’s economy. We are committed to working together to pursue our development in a responsible and sustainable manner.”
RTFT and the Ekuanitshit community have been engaged in a formal process of reconciliation and dialogue for nearly 10 years. The Uauitshitun agreement signed today was first discussed and approved by the Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit before being presented to an assembly of community members, where it was adopted by consensus.
Located 43 kilometres north-east of the town of Havre-Saint-Pierre, RTFT’s Lac Tio open pit mine extracts titanium dioxide from the world's largest solid ilmenite deposit. The mine has been operating since 1948. It currently employs around 250 people and over 8 million dollars with local suppliers in 2018, making a significant contribution to the North Coast’s economy.