A coalition of junior mining companies who observed “a revolt is taking place” with respect to First Nations consultation is no longer welcome in Treaty 3 traditional territory.
Representatives of Miners United spoke to the Globe and Mail last week, saying the 60-member organization was taking a “hard line” stance on consultation. They accused First Nations of demanding compensation rather than consultation and raising prices for junior companies to explore in their traditional territory.
“We disagree strongly with the hard-line tactics discussed at the Miners United forum,” said Treaty 3 Grand Chief Diane Kelly in a release. “In many instances, Treaty 3 communities have developed strong partnerships with mining companies because of the early commitment of companies to talk with us, build our capacity to understand the projects and the real impacts and potential benefits.”
Kelly called the Miners United statements “hurtful” and “full of stereotypes,” pointing out gold was an important part of negotiations leading up to signing Treaty 3. She argued Grand Council Treaty 3’s definition of consultation defines a constitutionally sound process and was clear Miners United’s member companies “will not be tolerated” in the territory.
A meeting between Kelly and the leadership of the Ontario Prospector’s Association is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Neal Smitheman, the Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP lawyer who was quoted as having used the term “revolt” in the Globe and Mail, told the Miner and News he doesn’t represent the group and said he was asked to speak to the developers on Treaty law. Smitheman advocates for junior mining firms in disputes with First Nations.
A spokesman for the Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci expressed the province’s commitment to the “duty to consult” principle and that clarifying the consultation process is underway. A draft copy of changes to consultation under the Mining Act was released in late March and will accept feedback until May 1.