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Matawa First Nations Chiefs attend Economic Forum

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THUNDER BAY, ON - January 14, 2010 - Matawa First Nations Chiefs are in Thunder Bay this week to participate in the Chiefs of Ontario First Nations Economic Forum.  Economic development remains a high priority for Matawa First Nations, as Chiefs seek new opportunities and partnerships. Chief Sonny Gagnon says; “The First Nations of Matawa Tribal Council are not against development, but we want to ensure communities benefit from all projects taking place in our territory. We have demonstrated that we are willing to work with responsible companies and support their projects, in exchange we want consideration of benefits for our communities directly”.

Benefits may include the establishment of employment and training programs, business opportunities, and support programs, among a long list of others, that can be shared amongst the affected communities.

In February, Matawa First Nations will introduce a new process called The Interim Mineral Measures Process that will provide guidelines on how communities interact with the mineral exploration and mining industry. The “How to Guide” will be the highlight of a conference in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Matawa Economic Development Manager Brian Davey says; “The Industry is invited to the first ever Matawa Mineral and Exploration Symposium to review the Interim Mineral Measures Process and provide comments and feedback. The purpose of the symposium is to introduce the mining industry and service related companies to the Matawa region, its communities and its leaders.”

Matawa is also sharing this guide in the spirit of cooperation, with the intention of removing any uncertainty that may impact the mineral exploration business and the communities in a negative manner. Currently the Matawa region is the most active mineral exploration region in Northern Ontario, with over sixty mining and mineral companies working in First Nation’s territories.

Matawa First Nations Chief Executive Officer David Paul Achneepineskum says; “The Interim Mineral Measures Process will help establish effective, positive working relationships, which will in turn provide benefits for our communities”.

The Mineral Exploration Mining Symposium will be held February 9th and 10th, 2010, at the Italian Cultural Centre in Thunder Bay. The Honourable Minister of Northern Development, Mines, and Forestry, Michael Gravelle will also be taking part in the two day event, providing a presentation.

Matawa Chiefs are available for interviews while in Thunder Bay.

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