Procurement from Indigenous suppliers is one part of Teck’s commitment to building relationships with Indigenous Peoples and sharing the benefits of our mining operations.
For example, where we have formal agreements with Indigenous Peoples, we work to identify local Indigenous suppliers and develop processes to share information on procurement opportunities and our supplier qualification requirements. In some situations, we work directly with Indigenous suppliers to help them meet our requirements, or provide them with training and business development support.
In 2016, our operations spent approximately $128 million on suppliers who self-identified as Indigenous. Here are a few examples of procurement and development success stories from across Teck.
The largest portion of procurement spending with Indigenous suppliers is at our Red Dog Operations, where it’s one of the cornerstones of our operating agreement that governs the operation and development of the mine. In 2016, 42% ($113 million) of Red Dog’s spending was with Indigenous suppliers.
One of Red Dog’s long-standing supplier relationships is with NMS, a company primarily owned by NANA Development Corporation, a subsidiary of NANA Regional Corporation. NMS was established in the early 1970s, when construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System began, to provide catering services to the influx of workers who came to the state for employment in the oil and gas industry. Since then, NMS has evolved their portfolio to include a wide variety of hospitality, security and management services.
Red Dog’s partnership with NMS dates back to the mine’s opening in 1989, and today NMS has between 50 and 75 employees working onsite (depending on the season), who provide the camp with food services, housekeeping and janitorial services, laundry, commissary management and billeting.
“Our strong relationship with Teck and Red Dog is one we’re very proud of. As an Alaska Native subsidiary, one of our top priorities is to serve clients and employ shareholders within the NANA region,” says Megan Moore, Director of Marketing, NMS. “The goals of the mine align with many of ours, and through the success of Red Dog, meaning the success of NANA shareholders, together we contribute to the state and community economies.”
Megan notes another integral part of the alignment between Teck and NMS is the shared core value of safety.
“As a support company, we try to align ourselves as closely as possible with the policies and procedures of whomever our client might be,” said Megan. “We make sure we’re giving our employees ongoing training, and we share our best practices not only with our internal team, but also with our partners and clients. If we find something is working well, or we’re discovering safer procedures, we want to share those lessons. Safety is our highest priority, and we make sure that it guides the decisions and actions of our employees, every day.”
Highland Valley Copper
As a result of engagement with communities of interest in recent years, the team at Highland Valley Copper (HVC) recognized they could be doing more to create greater value for the local communities by re-evaluating how businesses were supported through each stage of the procurement process and helping support the development of Indigenous-owned business.
A review of the existing guidelines resulted in procedural changes and an overall shift in culture, including a more collaborative approach to procurement and discussions around work packages that take into consideration opportunities to provide value back to the community. In 2016, this led to an 88% increase in service contracts successfully awarded to Indigenous businesses at HVC, including Neet’lim Environmental Services, a new business that was developed through engagement with HVC.
Neet’lim Environmental Services
Since 2013, HVC has offered an internship program for local youth from a variety of disciplines, and a number of Indigenous students who graduated through the training program as environmental technicians were subsequently hired as contractors at the site. With the level of expertise among individuals from the eight First Nations communities that form the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly (CNA), the idea was put forth to formally establish an environmental monitoring business within CNA.
After some discussion, CNA decided to pursue the opportunity, with several of the internship graduates leading the business initiative and HVC assisting with additional start-up resources to help establish Neet’lim Environmental Services. To date, the company has been awarded a number of contracts, including water quality monitoring and data entry for surface and ground water, as well as aquatics monitoring support.
In addition to partnering with Indigenous business through our operations, Teck is also one of 21 founding investors in the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, promoting long-term economic opportunities to help ensure we leave a positive and sustainable legacy.
Established in 2008, CAPE Fund is a $50 million private equity investment fund with a portfolio of Aboriginal businesses from across Canada. CAPE Fund aims to support and enable Aboriginal entrepreneurs or communities to pursue promising business opportunities, create wealth and simultaneously build management capacity in Aboriginal-owned companies. It accomplishes this by providing businesses with start-up capital and ongoing support.
“CAPE Fund’s primary goal is to prove that investing in Aboriginal entrepreneurs and business provides profitable outcomes. The Fund will create successful role models who will demonstrate to young Aboriginals the rewards and tangible benefits of acquiring education and participating in private sector enterprise,” said Alex Farley, CAPE Fund Director.
To learn more about CAPE Fund and the people who benefit from it, watch the CAPE Fund video.