BATHURST (GNB) – The provincial government has invested $136,000 in two training programs for 23 aboriginal individuals at the Trevali Mining Corp.’s Caribou mine near Bathurst.

“I am pleased that this investment in specialized training for First Nations individuals has helped open the door for employment with Trevali,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault, during a tour of the mine. “It is important that we work to foster a strong mining sector to create jobs, get our finances in order and make life easier for families. This investment helps us move the needle on all three of those priorities.”

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour contributed more than $111,000, while the Department of Energy and Mines provided $25,000. Another $30,000 was provided through the Joint Economic Development Initiative along with an additional $10,000 contribution from the First Nation communities of Big Cove (Elsipogtog), Burnt Church (Esginoopetitj), Eel Ground (Natoaganeg), Eel River Bar (Ugpigantjig), Pabineau (Oinpegitjoig) and Red Bank (Metepenagiag). Trevali has provided in-kind contributions to support these efforts.

“Through this partnership, we have helped facilitate training and employment opportunities for First Nations individuals,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Francine Landry. “This investment has led to meaningful work in an exciting sector and the opportunity to build a career right here at home.”

The Underground Mining training program, delivered by the New Brunswick Community College in Miramichi, was delivered to 11 individuals. All participants successfully completed the course and were recognized at a graduation ceremony on April 14 on the Pabineau First Nation. All participants are now employees at the mine.

The Mill Operator training program, delivered by the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick in Bathurst, is being delivered to 12 individuals. Participants are currently doing their practicum at the mine. A graduation ceremony will be held in May at the Bathurst campus.

“We are very pleased with the collaborative investments that the Province of New Brunswick, Joint Economic Development Initiative, and neighboring First Nation communities have made to the training of First Nation miners,” said Chief David Peter-Paul of the Pabineau First Nation. “Our First Nations contain thousands of young and capable workers who are eager to seize education-to-employment career-building opportunities like these. Trevali Mining Corp. has certainly raised the bar here in New Brunswick by demonstrating an unbending commitment to establishing a respectful, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with First Nations and surrounding communities of the region. We are grateful to Trevali for remaining committed to engaging members of our First Nation communities in the operation of the Caribou mine.”

Trevali is now moving towards full operation following months of preparation, including the refurbishment of the mill at the site. It is estimated that it could employ up to 300 workers. The underground mine produces zinc, lead and copper.

“We at Trevali Mining would like to convey our congratulations to the graduates of the First Nations Underground Miners Training Program and are pleased to provide these opportunities for the region at our Caribou Mine, and at potential additional Bathurst Mining Camp operations in the future,” said Mark Cruise, president and CEO of Trevali Mining. “As part of Trevali's continuing impact benefit agreement with local Mi'kmaq First Nations, these mining and mill training programs will provide qualified First Nation candidates with the skill sets to take advantage of Trevali's goal of 20 per cent First Nation work force participation at Caribou, and will make Trevali one of the largest First Nation employers in New Brunswick.”