April 12, 2024 – Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) and leading energy transition materials company Vale Base Metals (VBM) announced today that they have agreed to and signed an Exploration Agreement, representing an important milestone and foundation for building a positive and long-term relationship in Manitoba.

Chief Angela Levasseur of NCN stated, “In honoring our Ancestral Lands”, NCN Chief and Council are pleased to announce our partnership with Vale through the signing of an Exploration Agreement. This marks a significant step towards solidifying our bond with Vale for the betterment of our community and its members. This agreement lays the cornerstone for a broader, more enriching collaboration in the future.”

The Exploration Agreement aims to create new opportunities for NCN to participate in mineral exploration undertaken by Vale Base Metals in their traditional territory. The agreement includes commitments to regular meetings, preferential consideration for qualified NCN businesses and employment through the exploration program, an environmental monitoring program led by NCN, and a financial commitment. The Exploration Agreement also sets out the path forward for Vale and NCN to negotiate a comprehensive Relationships Agreement for Vale’s operations in NCN’s territory, including the ongoing, and any future mining, milling and related activities.

“This Exploration Agreement is the starting point to a strong, generational relationship between NCN and VBM,” said Stacy Kennedy, Director of Manitoba Operations for Vale Base Metals. “Vale has a strong future in Manitoba, and we want to work with NCN to leave a sustainable and responsible legacy on the land for the people who have lived here for millenia.”

The agreement lays the groundwork for discussing a more robust relationship agreement beyond exploration, including discussion around areas including education and training, employment opportunities, workplace conditions, business opportunities, financial participation and/or compensation, environmental and cultural protection, environmental monitoring and mitigation, communication and consultation, access to project areas, NCN consent and more.

Vale and NCN are proud to create this progressive agreement that allows continued mineral exploration with potential to create lasting value for generations in northern Manitoba.


Executive Summary

Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation – Vale Base Metals

Exploration Agreement

March 15, 2024


Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) and Vale Base Metals (Vale) have formalized their relationship. After careful consideration and working in collaboration, they determined that the first step in formalizing the relationship was to develop an Exploration Agreement that aligns with NCN values and Vale’s exploration plans. The NCN Council has passed a Chief and Council Resolution in support of this agreement, which was fully executed on March 15, 2024.

Exploration Agreement Summary

  • Establishes a framework for ongoing consultation on Vale’s proposed annual exploration activities, including the consideration of any proposed accommodation measures where there are potential adverse effects on asserted or established NCN rights;
  • Confirms NCN’s support for Vale’s exploration program subject to Vale complying with the terms of the Exploration Agreement;
  • Provides for the development of an NCN environmental monitoring plan for the exploration program;
  • Establishes priority hiring of qualified NCN members for the exploration program;
  • Provides preferential consideration of NCN business through Vale’s procurement process for the exploration program;
  • Provides an annual financial payment based on Vale’s annual exploration expenses;
  • Provides capacity funding to support the implementation of the Agreement and payment for NCN’s agreed upon costs to negotiate the Agreement; and
  • Commits the Parties to a negotiation of a comprehensive Relationship Agreement between NCN and Vale regarding Vale’s operations, both current and future.
  • Sets out the topics to be discussed by the Parties in a planned negotiation process to develop a Relationship Agreement that will cover Vale’s Manitoba operations.

Next Steps

  • Formally sign the Exploration Agreement.
  • NCN to confirm mandate and identify who will lead negotiations.
  • Vale to identify negotiation team.
  • Set out a mutually agreed plan and budget for the future Agreement; and
  • Commence discussions.