A diamond exploration company with several promising properties in northeastern Ontario and Quebec is taking advantage of Canada’s passion for hockey to nurture a relationship with a First Nation community in the region.
Tres-Or Resources Ltd., a Vancouver-based company credited with discovering the largest diamond bearing Kimberlite pipe in Ontario, turned to ice hockey legend Bryan Trottier to organize a National Hockey League (NHL) alumni game in support of the Timiskaming First Nation’s first annual Environmental Awareness Day March 30th.
A member of Tres-Or’s board of advisors, Trottier participated in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Tres-Or and the Timiskaming First Nation in September 2005 which set the stage for a partnership focusing on training and employment opportunities.
Trottier played a total of 18 seasons in the NHL, winning seven Stanley Cups. He won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1975-76 and the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer in 1978-79. Over his 18 seasons in the league (15 of them with the New York Islanders), he scored 524 goals and was credited with 901 assists for a regular season career total of 1,425 points. Of Cree/Chippewa descent, Trottier won an Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1999 for his work with First Nation communities.
Joining him on the ice March 30th were former NHLers Gino Odjick, Glenn Anderson, Jim Neilson, Dan Frawley and Gaston Gingras. Trottier and his teammates held a skill development workshop for Timiskaming First Nation youth and entertained some 400 fans in a matchup with the Saugeen 64s, representing the locals. Money raised from the event will be used to fund programming for the community’s youth and seniors committees.
Tres-Or has trained and employed a number of community members to assist with claim staking, linecutting and till sampling on its properties in the Timiskaming/Temagami area between North Bay and Timmins and across the border in Quebec.
Timiskaming First Nation leaders have welcomed the opportunity to participate with Tres-Or in the economic benefits of mineral exploration on their traditional territory and were in discussions to expand the agreement when Chief Conrad Polson suggested the hockey game.
Employment opportunities offered by the mining industry are helping to put a dent in the community’s high unemployment rate. Drilling contractor Boart Longyear has also come looking for people to train as drillers and helpers, and other community members are working as miners in Red Lake and Labrador, said Chief Polson.
Reached on his cell phone in New York a few hours prior to a Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres, Trottier praised Tres-Or “for reaching out to a First Nation community.”
A witness to the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Timiskaming First Nation, Trottier said, “It was a pretty powerful moment for everyone in the room.”
A few days following the hockey game, Tres-Or and joint venture partner Arctic Star Diamond Corp. announced the successful negotiation of a 21-year lease on a 388-hectare parcel of land around the Lapointe Kimberlite Pipe.
Later this year, the company plans to test a bulk sample from the Lapointe kimberlite and process the material for macro-diamond content. To date, the joint venture partners have completed a 3,500-metre delineation drill program and recovered 440 diamonds from the site, including a 2.4 mm (0.0665 carat) clear white gem quality stone recovered from the first drill hole in May 2005.
Tres-Or zeroed in on the target following analysis of airborne magnetic data made public through the Discover Abitibi geoscience study.
Several other companies are also working in the area, including Temex Resources, Stornaway Diamond Corp., Dianor Resources Inc., and Southern Era Diamonds. n