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Taking to the skies

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A new joint venture between the Sakku Investments Corp. and First Air is looking to take advantage of opportunities being presented by the mining and exploration industry.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sakku Investments Corp. president and CEO Patrick Tagoona puts in some extra time in his role as president of Sakku First Aviation Ltd. in Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Sakku First Aviation Ltd. will be headquartered in Rankin Inlet while operating throughout the Kivalliq from bases in Rankin, Arviat, Baker Lake and Repulse Bay.

The new company is majority owned by Sakku Investments and will initially provide air transportation for mining and exploration.

Sakku Investments Corp. president and CEO Patrick Tagoona has been named president of Sakku First Aviation Ltd.

Tagoona said the new company is an opportunity for Kivalliq Inuit to take an ownership position in a key economic driver, while providing real employment and financial benefits to beneficiaries.

He said although the venture has been formalized, it's still in the beginning stages.

"This partnership was attractive to Sakku because First Air has been aggressive in providing service to all seven Kivalliq communities and having that capability is important to us," said Tagoona.

"The big thing right now is mining and exploration and, with the Meliadine project being underway here very soon, it was best we get ourselves in position to be able to go after that type of market.

"Sakku has been active recently in setting up joint ventures with various companies to provide much-needed services in the region."

Tagoona said with Sakku Investments being the business arm of the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA), the venture's main goal is for Sakku to provide a financial benefit to the KIA to be dispersed among Kivalliqmiut through various programs.

He said the more comprehensive services Sakku can help provide in the region, the more benefits will be enjoyed by its residents.

"The response we've received to this partnership so far has been very favourable.

"There's opportunity here with the activity going on at Meadowbank and what's about to happen at Meliadine.

"A little further away - and I'm not sure ultimately which way the project will swing - there could be additional opportunity with Areva Resources.

"We could also see an increased demand for sport hunting and other tourism activity, so I would say there's plenty of room for our involvement in the industry."

Tagoona said Sakku shares First Air's enthusiasm for sponsoring sporting events and cultural activities in the region.

He said being a minor hockey coach himself, he appreciates the importance of better rates being available to fly young players around.

"Hopefully, if things keep proceeding as they have, Sakku First Aviation Ltd. will be a recognized name in the Kivalliq, and beyond, sooner rather than later.

"I don't have a definite start-up date at this time, but it will be in the near future, that's for sure."