Donning the Santa suit is getting to be an annual ritual for Glenn Nolan. Watching the joy in the eyes of the children of the Far North communities of Webequie and Marten Falls is always special for the vice-president of Aboriginal affairs for Noront Resources.
The junior miner has been a standard bearer for corporate social responsibility in Canadian mining, especially those operating in the Ring of Fire. "The kids are just so excited, even the older ones are right into it," said Nolan of the initiative started five years ago by Noront and its employees. The annual Ring of Fire Christmas Fund delivers gifts to children under the age of 13 in the two communities with whom the company works the closest on its Eagle's Nest and Blackbird nickel and chromite projects.
"There were some kids on my lap in Marten Falls that I thought I hope these kids have an opportunity to work at our project and make a meaningful living and contribute back to the community" Nolan intends to pencil in more of these trips on his annual schedule heading into this spring as Nolan's two-year tenure as president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) draws to a close. He was the first Aboriginal to take the helm in the industry group's 82-year history.
For the former chief of the Missanawbi Cree, it'll be a chance to wind down his global jet-setting duties and get back into the communities where Noront has established a tight bond.
"I'm looking forward to not being as mobile," said Nolan, a Thunder Bay resident. "I'm glad that I did it. but also really happy that it's over because it's pretty intense."
As head of the PDAC, Nolan has travelled extensively as part of federal government industry and diplomatic missions to Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru. China, the Ivory Coast, Australia and the Scandinavian countries while tagging along with the likes of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General David Johnston, high-ranking judges, educators and Canada's business elite.
Nolan said it's been a stimulating and eye-opening experience that so many countries look to Canada for guidance on establishing mining legislature that respects the rights of indigenous people, encourages local capacity development, protects water and land resources. and promotes sustainable development.
"They love having Canadian-based companies come to their jurisdictions to work because they know they're going to be treated fairly" said Nolan. "Our approach is much more...