The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Members of Wahnapitae First Nation regard plans by Cliffs Natural Resources to build a chromite smelter just 20 kilo-metres from their border as an opportunity.
But the president of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, a Wahnapitae First Nation member, says they also view the plant as a threat. That’s why the First Nation, and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, are working with Cliffs on a baseline environmental review of the project, getting involved on the ground floor.
Hans Matthews has been a member of his First Nation’s Mining Industry Working Group for a decade and president since the beginning of the association, which will mark its 20th anniversary with a conference in Toronto next month.
Headquartered in Wahnapitae First Nation, Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association drew a handful of guests to its first annual convention. Eight hundred delegates are expected to attend this year’s event, cochaired by Matthews and Bill Boor, Cliffs’ senior vice-president of global ferroalloys.
The theme is Community Gems, Faceted Outcomes: Maximizing Community and Minerals Industry Resources to the Benefit of All.
Matthews made it clear this week that Wahnapitae First Nation hasn’t given its seal of approval to Cliffs’ plan to build a $1.8-billion processing plant next door at the former Moose Mountain Mine site, north of Capreol.
Members are getting as informed and involved as they can before deciding anything.
“We don’t want to be at the tail end of the research,” Matthews said in an interview this week. “We want to be at the front end of the research.”
In no way, said Matthews, has his community “indicated our support for the project until we both walk down the path together and review it.”
Wahnapitae First Nation has taken that approach of working with industry since it signed its first agreement with the former Inco Ltd. in 1995.
“Without being informed, you cannot make a decision, and that’s the premise we’re working on right now.”
Cliffs is bringing some expertise to the project and the environmental assessment, but his First Nation also has expertise in mining and its effect on the environment.
Members are looking to be involved in the “actual designing of the project.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/10/25/natives-work-with-cliffs