Opportunities Forum 2013
Denendeh Investments Inc. hosted an Opportunities Forum in Yellowknife on January 15 and 16, 2013, bringing together the political and business leaders of NWT Dene First Nations. Two opportunities were presented in the Energy and Resource Exploration and Development. There were also presentations made regarding project financing. The purpose of the Forum was to inform and stimulate action to take advantage of opportunities in these sectors that are within the Dene’s influence. Darrell Beaulieu, CEO of DII opened the Forum, followed with an overview of the NWT economy and an impact model by Graeme Clinton, that graphically demonstrated what could happen to the NWT economy if there are no further resource developments to replace the Ekati and Rio Tinto diamond mines.
Several prominent Canadian business people made presentations on new or expanded business relationships with DII, and the potential for future business developments. Nancy Southern, President and CEO of ATCO Ltd., a company with a net worth of approximately $14 billion, spent the entire 2 days of the Forum first by making a presentation on possible joint energy projects, and remained to listen to the Dene participants discuss their economic aspirations. Ms. Southern also joined the DDC 30 the Anniversary celebration dinner on January 15 th .
Eira Thomas, who made the original mineral discovery leading to the Rio Tinto diamond mine, shared her knowledge on creating, financing and growing a resource exploration company. Ken Armstrong, Strongbow Resources, explained how their agreement with the Inuit in the West Kitikmeot region created the largest aboriginal/industry exploration agreement in Canada. An overall introduction to resource exploration was provided by Tom Hoefer, Executive Director of Nunavut and NWT Chamber of Mines. Ms. Thomas, Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Hoefer also participated during the full 2 days of the Forum as well as DDC’s celebration dinner.
Mark Walker, a Vice-President of Northwestel and Darrell Beaulieu, in his capacity as President of Falcon Communications GP Ltd., announced a good news story about the implementation of 3G, enabling mobile internet, in the NWT.
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Robert Galipeau, President of CEDENTO made a presentation regarding a trade mission to Quebec to seek partners and investors in the NWT. Several aboriginal businesses will be participating in this trade
mission as a result. Various options on raising the necessary equity for meaningful First Nation participation were presented. Keith Martell, CEO First Nations Bank of Canada spoke about innovative venture capital initiatives. Pawan Chugh, CEO of NWT Business and Development Investment Corporation provided detailed information on GNWT funding for community small businesses. The concept of a First Nations trust fund was presented by Jerry Paulette.
During the facilitated open dialogue, First Nation participants emphasized their desire to work together and the need for the Dene to be in control of and benefit from any development of their land and resources. Several Chiefs talked about the challenges of improving the quality of life for their people and stressed the need for First Nations in the NWT to be economically self-sufficient.
DII received support from the NWT First Nation political and business leaders in its plans to develop business opportunities in both energy and resource exploration and development. Interested First
Nations could be directly involved through equity participation or joint ventures or indirectly through the units they hold in Denendeh Investments Limited Partnership (DILP). Following the Forum, DII was approached by several NWT First Nations for joint projects in both the Energy and Resource Exploration. DII plans to move forward and develop businesses to capture the opportunities.