Working with People


Indigenous & Local Engagement

Engagement with Indigenous and local communities, residents, businesses, organizations, land users, and regulatory authorities is foundational to the responsible development of the Rook I Project. NexGen values and respects the culture, interests, and aspirations of the communities where it operates, and with a focus on Saskatchewan’s north, aspects of the Project are constantly evaluated with the goal to advance economic benefits and opportunities with local communities; drive economic capacity building; and support entrepreneurs across the province.

Since beginning exploration in 2013, NexGen has:

  • met regularly with identified Indigenous peoples and stakeholders to discuss and provide updates on Project development, aspects of the environmental assessment and licensing processes, and site activities;
  • become involved in initiatives and activities in the local communities, and;
  • provided employment and contracting opportunities to local residents and businesses.

NexGen’s engagement activities have continually evolved to ensure the inclusion of local Indigenous Knowledge and that of local public stakeholders in a manner that provides the opportunity for effective information exchange and dialogue specific to each stage of the Project.

Study Agreements

During the fall of 2019, NexGen entered into a Study Agreement with each of the Clearwater River Dene Nation, Metis Nation – Saskatchewan (on behalf of Northern Region 2), Birch Narrows Dene Nation, and Buffalo River Dene Nation. The Study Agreements outline the engagement approach for the Rook I Project (Project) as well as the resources and funds provided by NexGen to support Indigenous Group participation in the Project’s Environmental Assessment (EA) process.

The focus of the Study Agreements with each primary Indigenous Group is as follows:

  • Develop a Joint Working Group (JWG) structure for each Indigenous Group to support the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge into the EA process and to facilitate regular, ongoing engagement.
  • Assist in the identification of valued components for the EA.
  • Explore special interest topics for each Indigenous Group.
  • Support Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Land Use (IKTLU) Studies in various forms particular to each Indigenous Group.
  • Establish a Community Coordinator position in each Indigenous Group to act as the primary contact between NexGen and the Indigenous Group.

In addition to the above, each of the Study Agreements commits NexGen and each individual Indigenous Group to negotiate in good faith to formalize a Benefit Agreement, and for NexGen to provide funding to assist in negotiating such an agreement.

Joint Working Groups

Each Joint Working Group is composed of representatives of the respective Indigenous Group in the Local Priority Area (LPA) and NexGen to facilitate the exchange of information and sharing of Indigenous and Local Knowledge, including understanding each Indigenous Group’s protocols on consent, ownership, access, control, and possession of their knowledge. The LPA is defined as the local geographic area comprising those communities in northwestern Saskatchewan primarily affected by the Project.

Joint Working Groups were formed through the Study Agreements established with each Indigenous Group in 2019 and have been implemented as the agreed-upon engagement pathway for the advancement of the Environmental Assessment (EA). The four JWGs are Clearwater River Dene Nation JWG, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan JWG (representing Northern Region 2), Birch Narrows Dene Nation JWG, and Buffalo River Dene Nation JWG.

The JWGs support the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into the EA, including:

  • Identification of valued components;
  • Characterization of certain baseline conditions; and
  • Discussion of potential effects of the Project, and identification of potential mitigation measures to avoid or minimize those effects.

The JWGs also discuss other topics that are important to the local Indigenous communities. With the health and safety of all being our top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person meetings were adjusted to virtual platforms in parts of 2020 and 2021 with a view to ensuring continued dialogue and input.

JWG Selection:

Indigenous Group Leadership selected JWG participants with consideration for diverse representation including Elders, youth, men and women, business owners, and traditional land users in the Patterson Lake area.

JWG Summaries
Since March 2021, NexGen has created JWG summaries to assist Indigenous Group JWG members in sharing information discussed with their respective community members.

Benefit Agreements

NexGen is working in partnership with all local communities, with the mutual objective to responsibly develop the Rook I Project.

The Rook I Project (Project) is located within the Clearwater Dene Nation (CRDN), Birch Narrows Dene Nation (BNDN), Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN) traditional territories and the Métis Homeland. NexGen has signed Benefit Agreements with all four Local Priority Area (LPA) Communities - the CRDN, the Métis Nation - Saskatchewan Northern Region 2 (MN-S NR2) and the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S), BNDN, and BRDN, covering all phases of the Project.

The Benefit Agreements define the environmental, cultural, economic, employment, and other benefits to be provided to the communities in respect of the Project, and confirm their consent and support for the Project throughout its entire lifespan, including reclamation.

These Agreements reflect the dedication and commitment of NexGen and all four LPA communities to collaboratively design and implement a new industry-leading approach to genuine consultation and engagement.

"Since as early as 2013, the Rook I Project has been a platform for both NexGen and CRDN to set a new and elite standard on Indigenous engagement, participation, and partnerships, for projects in the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples. The signing of this IBA formalizes these new standards, and provides the CRDN and all its members the opportunities for lifelong, sustainable jobs and business opportunities right in our own backyard.. NexGen has always demonstrated it truly wants success for CRDN and its members and we look forward to advancing the Rook I Project with NexGen, throughout all phases of its lifecycle."
Chief Teddy Clark of Clearwater River Dene Nation

"This agreement not only recognizes the Métis as a rights-holding people with strong ancestral connections to the land, but also provides a mechanism for continuous engagement on a breadth of important topics, including environmental and social concerns, human resources, and support for Métis businesses. After a century of our lands being developed without consideration of our people, it was important to come together as one Region and one Nation to change the status quo and become a partner in the development of the Rook I Project.  NexGen’s commitments in the IBA will set a new standard for how industry recognizes Métis rights and engages with the Métis Nation."
Leonard Montgrand, Regional Director of MN-S Northern Region II

“On meeting the regulatory requirements, our community stands to benefit with environmental monitoring, jobs, business opportunities, and payments to support community priorities. NexGen has been working with us in a respectful way.”
Chief Jonathan Sylvester of Birch Narrows Dene Nation

“The jobs and business opportunities that our members will be able to obtain with the Project incorporating elite environmental and cultural practices is very exciting.”
Former Chief Elmer Campbell of Buffalo River Dene Nation (from 2018-2021)


Community Information Sessions

Community Information Sessions are an important opportunity for sharing information about the Rook I Project with the communities local to the Project, and for creating an open and welcoming forum for community members to provide input and ask questions directly to our NexGen team, including the leadership team, technical experts and consultants. In 2019, NexGen held its first annual Community Information Sessions in the northwestern Saskatchewan communities of La Loche, Buffalo Narrows, Birch Narrows Dene Nation (Turnor Lake), and Buffalo River Dene Nation (Dillon).

With the health and safety of all being our number one priority, the COVID-19 pandemic in required us to postpone in-person workshops and community information sessions in 2020 and the majority of 2021.

In June 2022 and 2023, Community Information Sessions were held in La Loche, Buffalo Narrows, Clearwater River Dene Nation, Birch Narrows Dene Nation (Turnor Lake), and Buffalo River Dene Nation (Dillon) to share updates on the Rook I Project, including the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submission.

In May 2024, Community Information Sessions were held once again in the communities local to the Project. The NexGen team provided updates on the regulatory process, as well as education, training and employment opportunities for Local Priority Area residents.

We appreciate the opportunity to continue to engage in meaningful dialogue at the sessions each year with Leadership and community members. We look forward to continuing to host Community Information Sessions in the communities local to the Project.

For a full summary of the most recent information shared with the local communities at the 2024 Community Information Sessions, please download the 2024 Community Information Session Booklet, which outlines details relating to the safe and responsible advancement of the Rook I Project.


Community Feedback

Feedback from engagement, Joint Working Groups, and Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Land Use studies have identified several topics of primary importance from local Indigenous Groups and communities. Key themes NexGen has heard are:

  • Recognizing, accepting, and respecting the local community’s rights and cultural links to, and reliance upon, the land and its resources to support current and future generations;
  • Minimizing disturbances, to the extent possible, and protecting the quality of the water, air, land, wildlife, and human health through all phases of the Project;
  • Continued, effective, and respectful engagement with the local communities through all phases of the Project, including consideration of valuable feedback; and
  • Maximizing potential business and employment opportunities for local people through all phases of the Project to support current and future generations.


Newsletters have been developed to provide the broader community with the most up to date information on the Project. Community newsletters explore key aspects such as Project design, Project activities, employment opportunities, community initiatives, regulatory processes, and upcoming milestones.


La Loche Office

NexGen’s community office is located in the Dene Empowerment Centre in La Loche. The office has been established to make the Rook I Project more accessible to community members and serve as a link between NexGen and the Local Priority Area. Members of the community are encouraged to visit the office to ask any questions and receive information and updates about:

  • The proposed Rook I Project;
  • The Environmental Impact Statement and the EA process;
  • Upcoming community information sessions;
  • The license and permitting process;
  • Business and employment opportunities; and
  • Student mentorship and scholarship programs.
rsp office

NexGen’s La Loche office is open between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Robert St. Pierre, NexGen’s Community Liaison Manager, is based out of this office, and can be reached directly at  or by calling 306-822-7579 .