Community Engagement

Local EmploymentThe 2021 Naujaat Sampling Team

Wherever possible North Arrow will opt to hire the people local to our projects. Those who are most impacted by the exploration work are first to be offered the employment opportunities generated, providing they are qualified to do so. 

It is North Arrow’s experience that the more local people we can hire to fill a program's job opportunties, the more trust can built in the local community.  Employees get to witness firsthand that North Arrow is conducting our exploration work the way we said we would in permit applications and in leadership and community meetings and may share these observations with other members of the community.  The increased transparency helps towards our goal of solidifying a foundation of trust within the community.

Typically, as a project progresses, exploration budgets increase and the number of economic opportunities grow.  In the resource sector, for a few different reasons, projects rarely advance and grow in a straight line and perhaps even less so specifically in diamond exploration, but in general that’s the relationship: advanced projects have more job positions to employ for. 

Naujaat Project Employment

The Naujaat 2017 sampling and drilling program generated part time and full time jobs for 16 local workers. Our 2021 sampling program generated part time and full time jobs for 20 locals.  North Arrow is currently supporting the community's plans to put in a community access trail in 2022 which is an essential predecessor project for the transport of the planned 10,000 tonne bulk sample potentially slated to commence in 2023.   Both of these initiatives will bring many new job opportunities to the community of Naujaat for the near-term and in the case of the diamond project, for many years into the future if the value of the diamonds proves high enough to deem the project economic.

One aspect that makes the Naujaat Project unique compared to many exploration projects is the fact that the our orebody of focus, the Q1-4 kimberlite, lies only 9 km from town within the Municipal lines of the community of Naujaat.  This close proxmity allows North Arrow to conduct all of our programs from the community, typically from a house we rent from the Coop or the Hamlet.  Our local employees return home after each day of work, as part of their one-week-on / one-week-off arrangement, a very rare and desirable scenario for the Inuit working in the resource sector, who are more often subject to a two weeks or three weeks on (away from home) / two or three weeks off schedule, at the territory's gold mines. 

Our local workers' daily interaction with their families brings increased transparency to our work programs, but additionally, our southern geologists and other skilled out of town workers (e.g. helicopter pilots) also live within the community while programs are ongoing.  They are very often around the town in the evening (some during the day) to answer any questions those from Naujaat may have about their local diamond project.  The proximity of the project to town allows for a level of transparency of conduct and company that is harder to acheive if programs are being run out of a remote camp. 

The 2021 "Covid" Program

In 2021 North Arrow conducted a 2000 tonne bulk sample program of the Q1-4 kimberlite.  The 6 week program relied heavily on a local workforce hiring over 20 people from Naujuaat for part-time and full-time positions.This sampling program was conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic which added extra layers of safety protocol and logistical complexity to an already intricate program.  Scheduling was particularly difficult since most of the southern employees had to spend two-weeks in an isolation hotel prior to coming the community.  The program went extremely well considering and was completed in 6-weeks without a single case of Covid-19 associated with the southern crews coming to the community.  North Arrow’s team was rewarded for these efforts at the 2022 Nunavut Mining Symposium in the form of the ‘Corporate Award’ (see picture of Ken Armstrong on left).

Ken Armstrong accepted the award on behalf of the company and stated, “It wasn’t just us, there was a lot of work. The services and supply companies that we work with had to be flexible in order for a program like this to happen. Our helicopter contractors – their crews went through quarantine as well before going up to the hamlet. They didn’t have to do that, there are other places in Canada. I think it shows the commitment of those companies to working up here”. 

Consultation

Modern resource exploration and mining companies lead the way in sustainable practices, but for many people outside of these industries, who have not seen the changes that have come in the last decade or more, the picture that comes to mind is quite ugly.  Exploration and Mining need to be re-defined in the minds of society at large.  They are essential to our modern way of living, and its safe to say that every person on this planet benefits from them in some way, from their sneakers to their smart phone.  The concept that ‘resource extraction is bad’ and is ‘not sustainable’ for a planet that has endured a lot of past damage from industry is not in-tune with mining’s current approach and is definitely not in-tune with the world’s desire to move towards greener sources of energy as quickly as possible. 

Many of Canada’s First Nation and Inuit communities are situated in the areas more remote and often underexplored for their mineral potential, and are now being looked at by exploration companies.  How can the trust of local populations be earned by these companies and how can mining’s legacy be healed and re-defined for the sustainable future? 

Consult early and consult often is the approach taken by North Arrow and explorers generating new projects in Canada, when it comes to starting a new project in a new area.  Like any relationship, transparency is essential to building trust between the people that most often use the land and the companies that would like to explore for minerals on those lands.  The two can co-exist, but not without ongoing, honest communication combined with a willingness to work together.

North Arrow uses our first meetings to introduce ourselves to the community, but we are also there to learn about the people in the community. It is important to connect with leadership in the region, as well as in the community, but it is also essential to reach those families or individuals that will be most impacted by any exploration work a company is doing.  In particular the cabin owners, the hunters and trappers, or those harvesting from the land or water for fish or agricultural purposes. 

Who are the important contacts for our project area and how do they like to be communicated with so they can no what exploration could be upcoming?  What businesses exist / what skills do individuals have so that we can hire locals to do important exploration related jobs?  When will they be most likely to be using the land and how will our proposed exploration work impact them? (For example, at the Pikoo Project, October is not a good time to conduct and airborne geophysical survey because it’s moose hunting season and the low flying aircraft scare the moose).

With the on-again / off-again nature of the exploration industry, these relationships are not always easy to maintain.  Trust is hard to build over the phone, and face-to-face time is quite essential, but if a company cannot raise money to explore in a certain area or in a certain commodity for a few years, it can be unaffordable to travel to the community to conduct face-to-face meetings.  This is a challenge for sure, but as faster internet arrives to many of the remote areas of Canada, the ‘online meeting’ could very well help to bridge this gap through the leaner times in the industry and help to maintain these relationships.

For our most advanced, Naujaat Project, our goal is to visit the community at least twice per year.  If there is an ongoing work program, the fact that we work from the community allows for almost constant day-to-day consultation with the community.  With this arrangement, the way we conduct ourselves in our exploration is under the microscope all the time. All of our employees are returning to their families each evening and can talk about what we’re doing.  Also, we are out in the community; shopping, eating, conversing.  It really helps to lessen the mystery of the diamond exploration and helps build trust in how we are treating the land. 

With each trip to the community we conduct a meeting with Mayor and Council, a meeting with the Hunters and Trappers Organization and an ‘open to the public’ community meeting.  If we have a work program on the horizon, like we did in 2021 we will also conduct a job fair to receive applications for the positions we have for the upcoming program. 

Community Sponsorship

North Arrow are open to supporting community-focussed needs within the communities around which we have projects.  We support education and skilll training, culture and tradition preservation initiatives as well as activities or groups that focus on health and well-being in the community.  We have supported sports teams travel costs, driller’s assistant training programs, prospector courses, youth camps, school field trips, musical instrument giveaways, fishing derbies and more.  The traditional hunt for a bowhead whale in the Hamlet of Naujaat is a program we support every other year.

As a junior explorer with no revenue as of yet, sometimes our ability to support a cause or activity may be limited by our budget, our activity on the project, or our own ability to finance, but we will consider any proposals.  Please send requests for sponsorship to nthomas@northarrowminerals.com.

 

 

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