On August 2, 2018, a gathering took place at the Galore Creek Uhtlān Camp to acknowledge the July 26, 2018 announcement that Newmont Mining Corporation (Newmont) entered into an agreement to acquire NOVAGOLD Resources Inc.’s (NOVAGOLD’s) 50 percent interest in the project. Teck has held a 50 percent interest in the Galore Creek project since May 2007. Tahltan Leadership and senior representatives from NOVAGOLD, Newmont, and Teck Resources Limited (Teck) attended along with management and employees of Galore Creek Mining Corporation (GCMC), including several Tahltan people employed in the summer program.
The gathering opened with a traditional song performed by Tahltan Elder Nancy McGhee. Colin Joudrie, Vice President, Corporate Development, Teck, then welcomed the group and thanked Tahltan leadership and the crew for their years of support and contributions to the project.
“We are excited to be here today to mark a new phase for the Galore Creek project, to acknowledge the contributions of our friends at NOVAGOLD and to welcome our new partner,” said Colin.
Greg Lang, President and CEO of NOVAGOLD, reflected on the years of working with the Tahltan people and reflected on the importance of the Galore Creek project to NOVAGOLD.
“We value our relationship with the Tahltan people and it was very important for us to find a company that would continue to respect and work with the Tahltan Nation.”
Newmont representatives Blake Rhodes, Vice President Corporate Development, and Steve Skidmore, Regional Environmental Director, spoke about Newmont’s values aligning with Teck’s and the Tahltan Nation’s. “Creating value and improving lives is central to the way we conduct our business with communities near our operations around the globe,” said Blake. “We are looking forward to learning from and working with the Tahltan people and getting to know each other better in the coming months.”
Following the introduction of the new partner, Chad Day, President, Tahltan Central Government, emphasized the importance of the GCMC Participation Agreement to the Tahltan and the strength of the Tahltan people. Chad spoke about how many Tahltan people are employed in the mining industry and the skill and experience they bring to their work. He also spoke of his early work experiences as a driller’s helper for GCMC in 2006-2007.
“The support that GCMC has provided to the community through its scholarships and bursaries has had a significant impact on the advancement of Tahltan people,” Chad said. Chief Marie Quock thanked NOVAGOLD, GCMC and Teck for providing Tahltan people with work and said that GCMC has maintained a respectful relationship with the Tahltan people. Chief Rick McLean was unable to attend the event due to threat of wildfires to the community of Telegraph Creek which began the day before.
Mike Buchanan, Director, Exploration North America for Teck and General Manager for GCMC, spoke about the strong experience, teamwork, and communication among the Galore crew. Ann Ball, GCMC Senior Coordinator Community Relations, thanked NOVAGOLD and Teck and spoke about the Participation Agreement and its importance to the Tahltan people. Gabe Jutras, Senior Geologist, Teck Exploration and Galore Project Manager GCMC, spoke about the field crew’s excitement in hearing that the project would be ramping up for prefeasibility work over the next three to four years.
During the event, NOVAGOLD gave Newmont an engraved rock hammer to symbolize the passing of the torch. A hammer was given to Teck to symbolize the new partnership with Newmont under GCMC and a hammer also was given to the Tahltan Nation to recognize the longstanding relationship and symbolize the commitment to working with the Tahltan people. As a farewell, GCMC recognized the contribution of NOVAGOLD by also gifting an engraved hammer.
GCMC also took the opportunity to recognize the commitment of longtime employees: Ann Ball, Vern Marion, Calvin Marion, Sarah Henderson and Robert Donald by presenting them with a limited print titled, “Taku Red” created by Tahltan artist Alano Edzerza. The print symbolizes the magnificent Taku river running red with migrating salmon. This was a particularly positive and emotional portion of the gathering, connecting service and dedication to the project.
Nancy McGhee closed the gathering by sharing another traditional Tahltan song. The group shared lunch and conversation and commemorated the event with a group photo and a tour of the site. For NOVAGOLD it was an opportunity to say good-bye and for Newmont, Teck and the Tahltan Nation it marked a new chapter for the Galore Creek partnership.