Supporting local communities by building new infrastructure or sponsoring education and health programs is a practice mining companies have been developing for years. The Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) demonstrates how positive community-company relationships can work during the mining cycle and also leave the area fully sustainable and independent long after mine closure.
Context and challenge
The challenge with any community-company relationship is to not only build the skills but also facilitate the growth of other activities in parallel to mining.
The LLRIB is the largest Cree First Nation band government in the rich farmlands of Saskatchewan, Canada. Primarily the LLRIB developed trucking and catering skills as a localised procurement partnership alongside nearby uranium mines.
Initially dependant upon the miner’s procurement needs, the LLRIB with the support of the local mines, slowly expanded their businesses away from the mines. Through supplying services in the local region, and preventing themselves from being solely dependant upon the mines, the LLRIB increased their annual turnover to Can $65 million. In 2017 LLRIB and Cameco signed a collaboration agreement to continue the enhancement of their existing relationship and commercial enterprises.
In addition to helping train local community members to provide goods and services, companies can also consider supporting microcredit and other entrepreneurial schemes to help encourage small business.