Uranium giant Cameco is working to put together more long-term collaborative agreements with Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan.

The company has a 25-year history of working with northern communities, and has recently put together two deals worth nearly $1 billion.

The director of corporate responsibility for the company, Sean Willy, says the agreements are setting industry standards:

“I think the communities in northern Saskatchewan, and the companies in northern Saskatchewan and the local governments in northern Saskatchewan — we don’t pat ourselves enough on the back about the model that was created.”

Willy says the long-term agreements guarantee jobs, training, and contracts for local communities, while at the same time provides the mining company with a ready workforce and long-term stability.

He says it is a responsible way of moving forward and formalizing what the company has been doing for decades. Willy adds more deals are in the works:

“We are in discussions with Hatchet Lake and the Athabasca Dene — and they, same as English River and Pinehouse, already work with us on business opportunities, already have employees at our operations, already are involved in training, already get community investment, already get a say through the provincially-run Environmental Quality Committee.”

Last December, Cameco signed a $200-million collaborative agreement with the Northern Village of Pinehouse.  The other deal, a $600-million agreement with the English River First Nation, was signed just a few weeks ago. Willy says the agreements are good for the local communities, good for the company and good for the province.