Alexco is fortunate to be able to operate on lands that have been the traditional territory of the Big River People -- now known as the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (NND) - for thousands of years. Thanks to this relationship, Alexco is able to provide hundreds of jobs in the Yukon. And, among other things, NND has stepped forward to participate commercially in two of the major vendor opportunities at the Keno Hill Silver District site: food service catering and as a joint venture partner with Procon for the underground mining activities.
The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun represents the most northerly community of the Northern Tutchone language and culture group. Its people reside in, and adjacent to, the village of Mayo, Yukon, a town that had its beginnings during the boom years of the silver mines in the area. Today, NND has a membership of 602 citizens, and they own 4,739.68 square kilometers of settlement lands within their Traditional Territory, which covers 162,456 square kilometers of land.
Through the successful conclusion of land claims negotiations with the Government of Canada and Government of Yukon, NND assumed self-governing status in 1993. As a self-governing First Nation, NND has the ability to make laws on behalf of their citizens and their lands, and NND is building a new government to provide support and services to its citizens. Alexco has developed an enhanced understanding of NND opportunities and constraints, and strives to help mitigate typical unwelcome effects that can otherwise come with economic success.
As part of a progressive corporate outlook, Alexco entered into bilateral agreements with the NND during our very early days of exploration at Keno Hill. As our activities evolved from exploration through development to production, Alexco and the NND expanded on previous agreements in step with project growth, culminating in the Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement (CCBA or Agreement) that guides today's interaction with NND.
Our Agreement provides a modern, reasonable and fair platform upon which to maximize mutual benefits from our relationship. Importantly, the CCBA both acknowledges the NND aboriginal rights and title, and recognizes the legitimacy of our mining leases and grants and other property rights at Keno Hill. Equally important, the CCBA also provides significant social and financial components, including a drug and alcohol policy, regular business liaison meetings, a full time NND Liaison Officer, scholarships, funding to hire consultants so they can participate in environmental permitting reviews, and more.
As a result, NND is well informed about our applications, and their input is reflected in our project proposals. This is the hallmark of effective voluntary consultation in action, helping us achieve timely permitting of new projects; and through exposure to increasing opportunities brought about by our operations as well as other mining activities in their Traditional Territory, NND is now better able to deliver essential services through its Development Corporation as well as a supply of trained staff to work in our mines.
For more information on the FNNND, please visit their website at http://nndfn.com/