Ammar Al-Joundi and Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) President David Ningeongan sign the IIBA for the Whale Tail Project during a ceremony in Baker Lake, Nunavut on June 15th.
Fulfilling Our Nunavut Commitments and Obligations
Agnico Eagle Nunavut now have three separate Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreements (IIBAs) with the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA), a renewed Meadowbank IIBA, an updated Meliadine IIBA and a new IIBA for the Whale Tail project. Candace Ramcharan, General Supervisor of Community Relations for our Nunavut Operations, explains how we ensure we are fulfilling our commitments and obligations.
Proper implementation requires the support of almost every internal department on site, along with four joint KIA oversight committees. It also involves numerous communities, business partners and will require the support of dozens of suppliers to deliver on our commitments.
With all of these elements in play, how is it possible to ensure that we are fulfilling our commitments to Inuit and meeting all of our IIBA obligations?
First, the three agreements are almost identical, which makes it easier to implement and manage them as efficiently, transparently and as fairly as possible across our Nunavut platform.
Second, the IIBA Compliance Team worked in overdrive during 2017 to ensure there was a consistent approach and sufficient training to support the successful implementation of each site’s obligations. At least 12 people across different departments support different aspects of implementation, with a central team in charge of coordinating, tracking and implementing the three Nunavut IIBAs.
IIBA training & awareness is never-ending, starting when employees and contractors join the team during general induction training, through e-learning modules, and via poster and general awareness campaigns. Workshops to understand IIBA obligations have been conducted with senior managers and on-site training is offered regularly to employees.
In 2017, the IIBA Compliance Team also conducted scorecard workshops to review IIBA obligations for each department directly responsible for implementation, ensuring everyone understood and interpreted the obligations the same way. The Team also delivered on-site training once a month, with an additional 100 people trained during the year.
Implementation & monitoring are key to ensuring we meet our obligations.
To implement the IIBAs and resolve any issues, we partner with the KIA, through four joint committees:
- The Implementation Committee (IC), with responsibility for overall implementation of the IIBA
- The Business Opportunities Committee (BOC), which oversees the supplier pre-qualification and tendering process
- The Employment and Culture Committee (ECC), which implements employment and culture commitments, and sets Inuit employment goals
- The On-site working group (OSWG), which identifies and resolves issues that arise on the project site.
On a quarterly basis, the Team reviews each department’s IIBA performance, through a scorecard self-assessment. In 2017, the Borealis compliance management system was rolled out – a new software to keep track of scorecard results and monitor overall performance against annual targets.
Reporting overall compliance and performance to the KIA is a challenge, given the scope of application of the IIBA. In 2017, a data coordinator was hired to build a new contractor reporting database, allowing more accurate and complete monthly reporting about each contractor, their number of Inuit employees, hours worked etc. The goal is to automate data collection and continuously improve documentation processes so that reporting becomes routine.
According to Candace, all the coordination, training and awareness efforts are paying off.
“It has been a steep learning curve but the feedback from the KIA has been encouraging. They see the commitment and the progress we made this past year to work through the challenges. The key to success is ensuring everyone is properly trained and that everyone has the same understanding of what it takes to fulfil our commitments and obligations to our Inuit partners. We take pride in what we’ve accomplished this past year. Everyone recognizes the importance of fulfilling our IIBA commitments to the people of Nunavut.”
What are Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreements (IIBAs)?
For Agnico Eagle, IIBAs are project-specific agreements that outline our commitments to the Inuit of the Kivalliq region of Nunavut toward employment, procurement and the environment. Each of these formal agreements is required under the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement because 18% of land in Nunavut is owned by Inuit. IIBAs also ensure that projects are constructed and operated respecting the Inuit traditional way of life, language and culture, and promote and maintain Inuit economic and social development. IIBAs are reviewed every three years and affected communities are prioritized within them.
On March 1st, 2017, Agnico Eagle Nunavut and the KIA signed a new Meadowbank IIBA, replacing the prior one that was negotiated by the previous owners of the project. The new IIBA is based on the Meliadine IIBA, which was first signed in 2015. The Meliadine IIBA was also updated and signed on February 27th to align it with the new Meadowbank IIBA. Finally, the Whale Tail IIBA was signed on June 15th. The KIA is a regional branch of the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc, which is the main Inuit organization in Nunavut that receives royalties from mining on sub-surface Inuit-owned lands.
While IIBAs are formal legal documents outlining an organization’s obligations and commitments, they are now considered best practice within the global mining industry.