WINNIPEG -- A Canadian-based gold producer and a northern Manitoban First Nation are collaborating to provide Indigenous youth with employment opportunities while honouring traditional ceremonies and practices.

Alamos Gold Inc. and Marcel Colomb First Nation (MCFN) announced Wednesday they are launching a youth development project, funded in part by a $30,000 Manitoba Mineral Development Fund.

The project will support two local Indigenous youth to work full-time with guidance from local elders and experts. The youth will learn to build a new trail and construct a cabin that others can also access near Chepil Lake on the north side of the Black Sturgeon Reserve, said Rebecca Thompson, vice president of public affairs at Alamos Gold. 

“With Alamos Gold’s proposal to build the Lynn Lake Gold Project in our traditional territory, our collaboration is vital. This program provides our youth the opportunity to gain hands-on skills and knowledge in a way that lends well to future employment with the project,” said Chris Colomb, Chief of Marcel Colomb First Nation, which is located more than 1,000 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

“It is also an opportunity for elders, knowledge holders and mentors from the community to guide youth through the project,” said Colomb in a news release.

The Manitoba Mineral Fund, combined with $15,000 each from Alamos Gold and MCFN, will go toward training the youth in carpentry, chainsaw use and trail maintenance, among other things, said Thompson in a phone interview.

Thompson added the project is intended to be the first of many and has the potential to benefit hundreds in the community.

“We see this project with the Marcel Colomb First Nation as an excellent collaboration that allows Alamos Gold to support the community and provide a great foundation for future training opportunities leading to employment at the proposed Lynn Lake Gold Project,” said Colin Webster, vice president of sustainability and external affairs at Alamos Gold.

“The program will also support relationship building, provide a forum for knowledge sharing, and enhance our understanding of community traditions and the reconciliation journey outcomes that are closely tied to this project,” said Webster in a news release.