View Drum Ceremony Video
On March 21, 2012, VG signed a Socio-Economic Participation Agreement ("SEPA") with the five Kaska First Nations. The agreement was signed by Chief Jack Caesar, of the Ross River Dena Council, and Graham Dickson, President of Ketza River Holdings Ltd. at the newly-built HOPE Centre in Ross River. About thirty people were in attendance to witness the signing of the agreement, which promotes cooperation between the two parties and fosters economic opportunities for the Kaska citizenry.
The Ketza River Project ("the Project") is located in traditional Kaska territory. By pledging Kaska support and cooperation for Project, the agreement increases the Project's chance of success as it advances through permitting and assessment. VG's proposal for the Ketza River Mine is currently undergoing assessment by the Executive Committee of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.
The agreement is the result of a strong relationship which has developed since the company began major exploration in the area. Since 2005, the company has consulted with the Kaska, holding community meetings and open houses, which have provided Kaska citizens with the opportunity to provide their input on the Project. These efforts were due in large part to the Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") signed between the Ross River Dena Council and the company in 2005. The MOU provided opportunities for Kaska participation in the Project and laid the groundwork for the eventual negotiation of the SEPA.
Signing the SEPA
In addition to financial benefits, the SEPA provides training and employment opportunities to Kaska citizens. VG will develop job-training programs for potential Kaska employees and make annual payments of into a newly set-up scholarship fund for qualified Kaska citizens. These commitments advance the economic interests of the Kaska and encourage the further development of the Kaska workforce. The SEPA also provides the framework for future consultation between the company and the Kaska Nation. VG will hire an Aboriginal Liaison Officer ("ALO") to act as a communication link between VG and Kaska citizens and a Management Advisory Committee ("MAC") will be created to enable the resolution of any future disputes.
The SEPA also reinforces VG's commitment to implement the Traditional Knowledge Protocol. The protocol, signed on July 20th, 2011, sets out a process that ensures that Kaska Dena traditional knowledge is respected and protected during future operations.
Download: Memorandum of Understanding
[pdf | 195kb]