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The First Nations of Mashteuiatsh, Pessamit and Essipit and BlackRock Metals Sign Two Partnership Agreements

Press Release

SAGUENAY, QC, Aug. 6 2020  – The First Nations of Mashteuiatsh, Pessamit and Essipit and BlackRock Metals Inc. (“BlackRock Metals”) announce the signing of two partnership and development agreements as part of the development of the BlackRock Metals project which includes a mine near Chibougamau as well as a processing plant in Saguenay (the “Project”).

The signing of these two agreements took place in Saguenay in the presence of Chief Clifford Moar (Mashteuiatsh), Chief René Simon (Pessamit) and Chief Martin Dufour (Essipit) and Sean Cleary, Chairman & CEO of BlackRock Metals, on August 6, 2020.

Through these agreements, the Innu First Nations of Mashteuiatsh, Pessamit and Essipit establish their partnership, the Project to be built being on their traditional territory, and agree to work in cooperation with BlackRock Metals in order to mitigate the impact of the Project in their communities and maximize its economic benefit in terms of jobs, training and business opportunities.

The signing of these agreements is a confirmation of the collaboration between BlackRock Metals and the First Nations of Mashteuiatsh, Pessamit and Essipit. To this end, the parties have agreed to set up joint committees aimed at making their collaboration a reality for the years to come.

The statement of Chief Clifford Moar of Mashteuiatsh, Chief René Simon of Pessamit and Chief Martin Dufour of Essipit is as follows: “We underline the particular importance of this Agreement, which falls within the geographic context of the Southwestern Part, a common nitassinan of our three First Nations. For millennia, our ancestors lived and prospered there. This explains our firm desire to assert our rights and our title there, as well as the depth of the ties that unite our three First Nations.

We particularly wish to emphasize, as evidenced by these agreements, that the history of the region has a temporal outreach which dates prior to the period of contact with the first European settlers. The signing of this agreement shows that it is possible for companies to come to an agreement with our First Nations for the development of large- scale projects while respecting our rights and our title and the environment. We hope that this Agreement can serve as an example for the realization of future projects on our nitassinan. ”

Sean Cleary, CEO of BlackRock Metals said “We take pride in having signed these historic agreements today. This is an important milestone for the BlackRock Project which has now been fully permitted by the Quebec Government and we believe that this is the right thing to do; our employees strive to ensure social acceptability for the BlackRock Project by members of all the communities in which we pursue our activities, including First Nation communities.

At BlackRock Metals, we look forward to working closely with the Innu Chiefs and want to thank each of them for their help and support for the BlackRock Project.

These new partnership agreements with First Nations of Mashteuiatsh, Pessamit and Essipit enhance the already existing impact benefit agreement in place with the Ouje Bougoumou Cree Nation, the Grand Council of the Cree and the Cree Nation Government as well as the agreements also in place with the local communities of Chibougamau, Chapais and Saguenay.”

About the Innu Nation of Pekuakamiulnuatsh: The Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation of Mashteuiatsh is the only Aboriginal community located in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, with a population of over 6,000 members. Its millennial presence in the region and its nomadic roots make this nation one of the most present throughout the nitassinan (traditional territory) of Mashteuiatsh over the centuries. Although Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan (Band Council) is the main employer in the community, a host of services are deployed throughout the territory and its entire economy depends on the dynamism of its businesses.

About the Innu Nation of Essipit: The Innu Essipit First Nation is an Aboriginal community whose Nitassinan (traditional territory) is located at the entrance to the North Shore, from the Saguenay Fjord to the Portneuf River. Essipit, which means “river of shells” is recognized for its community system inspired by ancestral traditions. Its economy is based mainly on the recreational tourism sector.

About the Innu Nation of Pessamit: The Innu First Nation of Pessamit has some four thousand members and the community is located at the confluence of the Betsiamites River and the St. Lawrence River. The Pessamit Nitassinan occupies an area of 140,000 square kilometers between the St. Lawrence River and the 51st parallel. History has deeply marked Nitassinan and consequently the lives of the Pessamiulnut. The Band Council is the largest employer in the community.

About BlackRock Metals: BlackRock Metals is a Canadian company engaged in mining and metal processing activities; it is currently developing a vanadium, titanium and iron mine, the ore of which will be transformed in Quebec into nodular iron, vanadium and titanium. The BlackRock Metals mine will be the first vanadium mine in North America; BlackRock Metals products will be used by industry to produce and strengthen steel and aluminum alloys utilized to enhance the reduction of global GHG emissions.

For further information: Mashteuiatsh: Pierre Gill: (418) 679-9069 [email protected]; Essipit: Marc Genest: (418) 233-2509 poste 235 [email protected]; Pessamit: Marie-Josée Bacon (418) 567-8488 [email protected]; BlackRock Metals Inc.: Saguenay region: Eva Carissimi (450) 288-0665 [email protected]; Other regions: Alexandre Meterissian (514) 972-0539 [email protected]


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