Canada's Cenovus Energy to build houses for indigenous communities

(Reuters) - Canada's Cenovus Energy CVE.TO said on Thursday it would invest C$10 million ($7.61 million) annually for a period of five years to help build about 200 homes for indigenous communities near its oil sands operations in the province of Alberta.

The commitment towards the six First Nations and Métis communities could be extended to 10 years and result in a total investment of C$100 million, the company said.

Alberta this week set up Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp to allocate up to C$1 billion to support First Nations that back resource projects, such as oil pipelines.

First Nations plays a pivotal role in Canada’s oil industry because governments and companies have a legal duty to consult and accommodate them before proceeding with resource projects that affect their territories.

Reporting by Rod Nickel and Arundhati Sarkar; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel