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Law firms acted in historic First Nations business deal

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 @ 1:21 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

Two First Nations communities are now significant shareholders in a major bitumen project.

Working together as the First Nations ETF Limited Partnership, the Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) have purchased a 49 per cent interest in Suncor Energy Inc.’s East Tank Farm Development. The transaction was worth $545 million with an offering of 25-year senior secured notes.

“The deal represents the largest business investment to date by a First Nation entity in Canada, and not only demonstrates the great potential for partnerships between First Nations and industry but serves as a model for how First Nations can achieve greater self-determination through financial independence,” said FMFN Chief Jim Boucher.

“This deal is built on a foundation of trust and collaboration between Fort McKay and Suncor; this is an example of how First Nations and natural resource development companies can find ways to support each other for the mutual long-term benefits,” he added.

“We are ecstatic to see this partnership come to reality. It's with great pride that we are part of this monumental deal. It has allowed us to collaborate in a true partnership and demonstrates the possibilities of how future successful business models between First Nations and industry across this country can be achieved," said MCFN Chief Archie Waquan.

“The economic benefits generated from this deal will help our nation build capacity within our businesses, develop infrastructure in our community, fund social economic programs, and provide us with the means to help pay for education and training for our youth. This will be felt in our community for generations to come.”

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and Boughton Law Corporation represented the First Nations ETF Limited Partnership.

The East Tank Farm Development is a bitumen and diluent storage, blending and cooling facility approximately 30 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta. It is primarily dedicated to servicing bitumen production from the Fort Hills oil sands mining project.