“There's a lot of potential in the market that I think that could be tapped into.”
In Regina, Pro Metal Industries, owned by Pasqua First Nation, became the first 100% First Nations-owned steel and metal fabrication company in Canada.
Chief Todd Peiganof Pasqua First Nation, found that because of this differentiating factor it has opened doors to procurements in the oil and gas industry.
“You have industry that — when they're in construction — they look at contractors that have to have a component dealing with First Nation,” Chief Peigan explained. “Pro Metal fits nicely in there because it's 100% owned by First Nations.”
The Pasqua First Nation has been working with both the federal and provincial governments to develop and implement procurement strategies for First Nations.
The company also has some work in the docket with Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project, to supply material and services to one of their contractors.
The History of Pro Metal
Pasqua First Nation’s relationship with Pro Metal first began by entering into a number of partnerships and joint ventures within the potash industry. In return they received training and employment.
Chief Peigan, Chief since 2011, and previously from 1993 to 2001, said this experience showed them the opportunities for metal and steel fabrication.
“So, we set out to try to acquire a business such as that, but we didn't have the expertise personnel to lead us in the right direction, and also to be the leader in the company,” Chief Peigan said.
Enter Bob Dumur. Dumur was the former owner-operator of Dumur Industries, based out of White City, Saskatchewan. He joined Pasqua First Nation to look for a facility to set up shop. Once they found a location, Chief Peigan presented the business plan to purchase Pro Metal Industries to his council.”
The council approved it, and Dumur became the General Manager.
“At Pro Metal, with the expertise of Bob Dumur, we're not only steel and metal fabrication,” Chief Peigan said, “we're expanding the whole role in regards to environmentally sound development that will work on remediating what has been damaged.”
Their first project is an incinerator gasification project.
Under Dumur’s lead, Pasqua First Nation and Pro Metal is developing technology to diminish the methane that’s emitted from burn-off from flaring at refineries, using jet propulsion technology. Chief Peigan said their goal is to take the gas and purify it into 99% clean air.
They’ve had a number of trials of the project with Saskatchewan’s TransGas subsidiary and are working on tweaking some metal fatigue challenges with the equipment.
Alongside these projects, Pasqua First Nation and Pro Metal are developing processes to purify sewage, specifically in the Qu’Appelle Valley, and applying the same incineration model to waste disposal, to reduce methane emissions in landfills.
“I did a presentation at the National Pipeline Conference back in April last year,” Chief Peigan said, “and there's three things that First Nations are concerned about with oil and gas development — air, land and water.”
“So, we're trying to develop a process that would allow the industry to keep doing what they're doing, but also work with industry to make sure that it's not toxic,” Chief Peigan said.
While working with Enbridge, Pasqua First Nation engaged in negotiations with the pipeline company to protect watercourse crossings in the Qu’Appelle Valley, and identify places of interest on various traditional sites.
In July 2017, Enbridge submitted a report to the National Energy Board “that they would work with any indigenous groups that want to do an inspection prior to construction, of their right of way,” Chief Peigan explained.
While aiming to remediate environmental problems for the future, Chief Peigan says the future for Pro Metal is focusing on the challenge of expanding the company, in order to be considered for larger contracts.
“In order to do that, you've got to know the people within the industry,” Chief Peigan said. “And, you have to invest in yourself in order to have growth.”
The introduction of Pro Metal was an important step in looking towards the horizon in terms of business direction for the Pasqua First Nation.
“Let's expand our vision. We could go build a grocery store, but on every corner, you have those. You don't have Pro Metal on every corner,” said Chief Peigan with a laugh.