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First ever World Indigenous Business in Canada officially kicks off in Saskatoon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:23

A photo of the WIBF kick-off powwow at Wanuskewin.  Photo courtesy the World Indigenous Business Forum Facebook page.

Hotels are packed and organizers are nothing but excited as the first ever World Indigenous Business Forum in Canada has officially begun in Saskatoon.

Delegates from around the world will be in the city for the next couple days to discuss how to involve their local Indigenous communities in the economy.

Nearly a thousand delegates from around the globe are in the city for the international forum.

“We arrived on Sunday and on our flight were people from Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Guatemala,” said Rosa Walker, President of the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, who organized the event.

“They are coming from all over and couldn't be more excited,” said Walker. “They can't believe what a beautiful city Saskatoon is and I just found out all the hotels downtown are packed and to capacity, so we are so excited.”

The forum began with a kick-off powwow at Wanuskewin Heritage Park Tuesday morning where several of the Indigenous communities shared different cultural practices.

After all the delegates got registered and settled in they will attend a welcoming banquet at Dakota Dunes Tuesday evening.

Throughout the next couple days attendees will hear presentations from people around the world. Among them include presentations from local organizations like Cameco, PotashCorp and the Government of Saskatchewan.

According to organizers the WIBF is designed to provide delegates with learning and networking opportunities.

Walker says the legacy of this event is already being seen through the Saskatchewan World Indigenous Festival for the Arts as well as a newly introduced Aboriginal youth entrepreneurship grant.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:29
New minister for First Nations and Metis Relations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:11

Photo by Manfred Joehnck.

There has been a major shakeup in the provincial government.

Four rookie MLA's have been appointed to cabinet, six ministers have changed positions and the cabinet has been reduced by one.

Among the changes is health, where Jim Reiter takes over from Dustin Duncan, who becomes the minister in charge of energy and Sasktel. Reiter also leaves his job as minister responsible for First Nations and Metis relations.

"To me it was all about building relationships and to a large degree I was able to do that," he said. "I am thankful for that, but I think the new minister is going to do a great job at that as well."

The new minister for First Nations, Metis and Northern affairs will be Donna Harpauer, who was the former social services minister.

"You know it is always hard to change roles," she said. "But at the same time, it is very exciting because I love learning new files. This will be my fourth significant change."

Harpauer says she has already done a lot of work on Aboriginal issues during her role as social services minister.

That role has now been turned over to cabinet newcomer Tina Beaudry-Mellor. Veteran MLA and current Education Minister, Don Morgan has been named the new deputy premier.

"The priorities of the new cabinet will be keeping Saskatchewan’s economy strong while carefully managing the province’s finances through this challenging time," said Premier Brad Wall. "I am confident we have the right group of women and men to meet this challenge."


Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:16
De Beers to start drilling in next phase of quest for diamonds in Athabasca Basin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 11:40

View of pond with distinct circular structure that corresponds to magnetic anomaly detected by Government airborne survey and confirmed by De Beers' surveys. Photo courtesy CanAlaska.

Helicopters have been flying over northwest Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin for the past two months, in what's being called an "aggressive" first step in De Beers' diamond exploration.

De Beers kicked off its seven-year exploration agreement with CanAlaska Uranium in June, in which De Beers can earn in to the West Athabasca Diamond Project by carrying out a series of work programs.

The airborne surveys in the western Athabasca have given the company a more detailed picture of potential kimberlite fields, with geologists zoning in on 75 different magnetic surface anomalies. Kimberlite is the type of rock that hosts diamonds.

"We now have indications from the survey of a large kimberlite field in the western Athabasca," CanAlaska President Peter Dasler said in a statement.

The De Beers team on the ground has been based out of Fond du Lac. In addition to the overhead surveys, they've been collecting rocks and sand to send to laboratories to look for clues that the rock in the area is kimberlite, said De Beers Canada's head of external and corporate affairs Tom Ormsby. So far they've collected over 100 of those samples.

"We know there are other minerals and things that are generally created and transported in the same way as diamonds are, so we look for those clues," Ormsby said.

The quest to verify that there are, in fact, kimberlite formations in the CanAlaska stakes in the 17,400-hectares of the Athabasca Basin, is heading into the next phase of exploration. De Beers is currently forming a plan to dig into the rock formations that seem most promising and are accessible at this time of year.

The decision to start a drilling program by September, Ormsby said, is related to some promising early assessments. It's also related to weather.

"This one was certainly a big priority for us because it was a large area to cover, and it was new area and we try to find out as much information as we can as quickly as possible because we work in remote access areas and the seasons are not long, with fall being a difficult season to get work done," Ormsby said.

The goal here is to actually strike kimberlite rock and hopefully find more than one kimberlite formation, he said. The drilling program will continue in the winter of 2017, as the majority of formations are underwater and inaccessible at this time.

The drill core will be studied at De Beers' facilities.

The amount of activity that follows will depend less on seasons and more on money, Ormsby said.

Each new phase in De Beers' four-phase, seven-year optioning agreement with CanAlaska will require significantly more funding. Thus, results need to be promising enough to drive the next level of investment.

A CanAlaska Uranium graph shows the level of investment De Beers must put in to earn certain percentages in the West Athabasca Diamond Project.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 12:42
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