Toronto, Ontario, September 15, 2010 – The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is supporting Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s (NAN) opposition to Bill 191, the Far North Act.
Bill 191 would give legal effect to the Ontario government’s plans for the northern boreal region. Without adequate consultation or consideration of the implications for First Nations communities, the mineral industry or northern municipalities, the provincial government proposes to permanently remove more than 50% of the Far North boreal region of Ontario from the possibility of sustainable economic development through the creation of an interconnected network of protected areas.
The negative implications of Bill 191 will be felt by First Nations communities that make up 90% of the population of the Far North and will deprive First Nations of the benefits that responsible mineral resource development can provide.
NAN has expressed the need for First Nations to have meaningful participation in land use decisions in the Far North, which Bill 191 does not provide, and has asked the McGuinty government to scrap the legislation altogether.
The PDAC agrees that Bill 191 should be stopped and hopes that the Ontario government will recognize the serious flaws with the legislation.
“Mineral exploration and development serves an important role in creating opportunity for northern Ontario’s First Nations and municipalities,” said Scott Jobin-Bevans, PDAC President, “The PDAC is encouraging its members to sign the Nishnawbe Aski Nation petition.”
The NAN petition is available at http://www.nan.on.ca.
Responsible economic development can be achieved together with the protection of the cultural, social and environmental values that the Far North embodies, through appropriate sustainable development approaches. PDAC opposes Bill 191 as the legislation fails to achieve the desired sustainable approach. Bill 191 will increase investor uncertainty and significantly reduce the land base that is available for exploration, thus negatively impacting economic opportunities for the mineral industry, First Nations, municipalities and companies that provide supplies and services. The mineral industry is critical to the sustainability of northern Ontario’s communities and a major factor in the province’s economic recovery.
NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly declared their opposition to the legislation and launched the anti-Bill 191 campaign on August 31, calling on First Nations and supporters to participate in a number of actions. On September 2, NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy issued an open call for support in which he called on all parties to withdraw their support for Bill 191 or reinvigorate their opposition to the bill.
The Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA) opposes Bill 191 as it will effectively restrict access and development in the Far North, an area which contains high potential for mineral discovery. Ontario’s Far North is currently host to a gold and a diamond mine; the exploration potential in the region is highlighted by the recent discoveries in the Ring of Fire. The OPA is urging its members to support NAN’s opposition to the Far North Act.
The PDAC is a national organization with 7,000 members representing the range of companies and individuals in mineral exploration and development. Our individual members include prospectors, geoscientists, consultants, mining executives, students and people working in the drilling, financial, legal and other supporting fields. The association’s corporate members include exploration and junior mining companies (small and medium-sized enterprises or ‘SMEs’), major producing companies, and organizations providing services to the industry.
Program Director, Aboriginal Affairs
416-362-1969 Ext. 229
Senior Program Director, PDAC
416-362-1969 Ext. 230