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 Mining major Rio Tinto has inked an alliance agreement with the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation in Canada.

This first agreement named Kuessilueu, which means “the wind is turning” in Nelueun, establishes the foundation for an innovative and sustainable alliance for both partners from a human, cultural and economic standpoint.

The agreement signed by Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation chief Gilbert Dominique and Rio’s MD for Atlantic Operations and aluminiumSébastien Ross, is the first step to a unique process that, as soon as early 2023, will bring approximately 80 representatives of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation and Rio Tinto to work together.

Over several months, they will work together in multidisciplinary teams to identify opportunities for collaboration and establish recommendations regarding six shared priorities, namely employment and trainingbusiness opportunities, cultural heritage and environment, partnerships, energy transition and governance. The goal is to finalize a long-term partnership agreement within 18 months. 

“With the signing of the Kuessilueu agreement, we have a real opportunity as an organisation to create a movement that will shape our shared future on Nitassinan and assert our shared values,” Ross said.

“The collaboration between Rio Tinto and Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation is a long-standing one and today, we are taking the next step through this co-creation approach. We hope to have a positive impact and inspire our employees and partners to continue building relationships and mutual understanding with the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation.”

Concrete projects will soon come into effect, such as the launch of an Indigenous awareness program for Rio employees in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region and the implementation of a team to identify opportunities that support the aspirations of both partners with regard to energy transition.