The directors of Denison Mines (TSX: DML; NYSE: DNN) have adopted a formal Indigenous peoples policy in the spirit of reconciliation. The policy outlines the company’s commitment to act towards advancing reconciliation.
This new policy reflects Denison’s belief that reconciliation is advanced through collaboration with Indigenous peoples and communities to build long-lasting, respectful, trusting and mutually beneficial relationships while aspiring to avoid adverse impact of the company’s activities and operations.
“I believe industry has an important role to play in acknowledging, and building awareness of, the history of Indigenous people in Canada and the critical importance of pursuing the objectives of reconciliation,” said David Cates, Denison president and CEO, in an announcement. “As such, the adoption of an Indigenous peoples policy is a notable step in our company’s journey to bring reconciliation to the forefront of what we do and how we do it.
“This policy is supported by our board of directors, on behalf of Denison shareholders, and is welcome amongst all levels of staff within the organization – from the executive team to operational personnel,” he added.
Denison operates on Canadian lands that are in the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples, especially in Saskatchewan. The company’s exploration and mining properties are in regions covered by Treaty 6, Treaty 8 and Treaty 10 and include lands of the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Lakota, Nakota, Saulteaux, and within the homeland of the Metis.
The flagship Wheeler River uranium project is located within the boundaries of Treaty 10, in the traditional territory of English River First Nation and the Metis. The project is advancing to the feasibility stage as an in situ recovery (ISR) producer. Wheeler River is owned 90% and operated by Denison. The remaining 10% is owned by JCU (Canada).
Denison’s Indigenous policy was developed based on the company’s experiences with, and feedback and guidance, from Indigenous communities with whom the company is engaged. This approach ensures that the policy captures a mutual vision for reconciliation. The policy was developed along the lines of the standards and principles in The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Call to Action 92 (Business and Reconciliation) from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The policy identifies five key areas of action that will support a continuously evolving reconciliation action plan: engagement, empowerment, environment, employment, and education. With this framework, Denison is striving to bring the principles of reconciliation to all aspects of its operations.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)