A new partnership opens opportunities for a northern First Nation
- NC Raine | October 12, 2022
A new Indigenous-centred business venture is set to make significant waves in economic and career opportunities in the trades for a northern First Nation.
Birch Narrows Dene Development Inc. (BNDDI) announced in mid-September that it will be taking majority ownership of a new business venture with Impact Energy Services, creating new opportunities in the mining and industrial sector. BNDDI, the economic arm of Birch Narrows Dene Nation, will own 51% of the new firm, with Impact Energy owning the remaining 49%.
“This is an exciting opportunity for BNDDI to participate in our province’s valuable mining and industrial sector,” said BNDDI CEO Anthony Clark.
“I think this agreement captured the sentiment of how industry wanted to work with their communities and actually partner with us as true partners, to see that multi-level benefit taking place between community and industry,” he said.
Clark said that Impact Energy was chosen as a partner for its willingness to embrace the potential of Indigenous people and communities, as well as for their record on safety, quality, and customer service as an electrical and instrumentation contractor.
Impact Energy, which provides electrical and instrumentation services for buildings, job sites, and homes, currently operates out of three locations: Kindersley, Rosetown and Saskatoon.
“We’re building a company that the people of Birch Narrows can be proud of and excited about for years to come,” said Boyd Kampen, Impact Energy President.
“I feel like we’re blazing a trail for environmental, social, and governance best practices in the construction industry. We also think we’re bringing a new standard in construction, in how we can create meaningful Indigenous partnerships,” he said.
The new company, in its first few years, will focus on investment into business opportunities and growth. Included is a mutual benefit agreement signed last year with NexGen Energy Ltd, a B.C. based company that is seeking to develop its Rook I uranium mine project, which is located at Patterson Lake in northern Saskatchewan.
“This partnership [between BNDDI and Impact Energy] will bring many opportunities through employment, skill development, and training in our community,” said Jonathon Sylvestre, Chief of Birch Narrows Dene Nation.
Sylvestre said the ownership stake in the company will allow Birch Narrows to keep their land-based activities “100% projected,” as well as important culture and traditions, he said.
When articulating what this all means for the community, Clark said this type of industry creates generational opportunities.
“Birch Narrows is a very young demographic. There’s a lot of students who have just graduated. So the opportunities this provides for the youth to enter this field and have apprenticeships, it’s significant. And that starts to generate those opportunities for generations to come,” he said.