On May 16, 2013, the Alberta government and the Métis Settlements General Counsel agreed to amendments to the existing co-management agreement between such parties, which will provide Métis settlements within the province of Alberta with increased benefits from oil and gas development on Métis settlement lands.
The original co-management agreement, which established rules for oil and gas development under Métis settlement lands, is a part of the Métis settlement accord signed in 1990. While the province of Alberta maintains ownership of mines and minerals, the original co-management agreement included provisions which permit the Métis settlements to negotiate an equity participation of up to 25 per cent in any oil and gas development occurring on such settlement lands. With passage of the amendments on May 16, 2013, this 25 per cent cap has now been removed. In addition, the new provisions provide that the Métis settlements now have the authority to require the highest three bidding companies to submit proposals in areas such as local employment, training or infrastructure improvements (the “Benefits Proposals”). The Benefits Proposals will then be submitted to the applicable Métis settlement counsel as part of a final selection process for energy projects occuring on thier settlement lands.
Alberta has eight Métis settlements in northern Alberta representing a land area of just over a half million hectares. According to the new provisions, the first mineral rights under Métis settlement lands will be made available for bidding at the June 3, 2013 bi-weekly provincial land sale.