19th May 2015

B.C. First Nation will accept LNG project – on their terms – by Brian Lee Crowley (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Brian Lee Crowley is the managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an independent non-partisan public policy think tank in Ottawa.

What a brave new natural resource world it is that has such players in it. What else but the Bard’s Tempest could be brought to mind by the storm of consternation and controversy surrounding the decision by one B.C. First Nation to turn down more than $1-billion for their agreement to a liquefied natural gas project on their territory?

Is that tempest justified? If the media narrative around the decision were correct, the answer is probably yes. According to that account, yet another First Nation has refused a hugely generous benefits package in order to indulge their environmental and anti-development hobby horses. If this kind of behaviour is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of new natural resource investment in Canada.

That investment, already made nervous by Canada’s high costs, ponderous regulatory apparatus and politicized decision-making, was already close to concluding that Canada doesn’t want to develop its resources and going elsewhere. Adding unreasonable and capricious aboriginal demands to the mix is simply the straw that will break the camel’s back. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th May 2015

Northeastern Ontario municipalities back First Nations’ proposal for a railway across traditional lands for Ring of Fire – by Len Gilles (Timmins Daily Press – May 19, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Martin was a guest speaker at the spring meeting of NEOMA, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association, which met in Iroquois Falls on Friday.

He outlined for municipal leaders from across the North how the plan is to build and east-west rail corridor from Moosonee, up to Kashechewan and then over to Webequie, where the Ring Of Fire mining prospects are located. Further to that, Martin said Mushkegowuk also wants to install a high voltage hydro transmission line to the same area.

The Ring of Fire is the name given to the vast deposit of chromite and nickel, located in the McFauld’s Lake and Webequie area, about 600 kilometres north-west of Timmins. The prospect is valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

After an extensive presentation by Grand Chief Martin on Friday, NEOMA members voted on, and approved, a resolution of support put forward by the City of Timmins, seeking formal support for the Mushkegowuk plan.

Before the resolution could be voted on, Cochrane mayor Peter Politis stood up to say he had a concern about the Timmins resolution, which he said had a “nuance” about the conceptual support for Mushkegowuk to privatize the rail service in Northeastern Ontario. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th May 2015

THE LUNCH: Christy Clark: B.C. premier has made a big bet on LNG – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – May 16, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER — Christy Clark springs out of her chair after she sees four kids waving at her through the restaurant window.

“Hold on a sec,” the B.C. Premier tells me, gesturing to them to meet her inside. She poses for photos with the four smiling elementary school pupils, who are on a family outing to Vancouver from the nearby community of Abbotsford in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.

We are two-thirds of the way through our lunch, seated in a corner of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel’s Arc Restaurant with a great view of the North Shore mountains. It’s a convenient spot because it’s across the street from her downtown Vancouver office. I remark that someone was bound to recognize her and want to meet her. “It’s not that often that kids do,” she says. “I kind of thought that I should reward that attentiveness.”

Two years after the B.C. Liberals were re-elected with a majority government, Ms. Clark isn’t showing any signs of rust when it comes to her campaign skills. Whether it’s connecting with kids who are still many years away from voting or telling the server that she loves the soup of the day, her ability to launch a charm offensive won’t be easy for Opposition NDP Leader John Horgan to counter in the next provincial election in May, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th May 2015

For the Lax Kw’alaams, cultural identity is priceless compared to LNG – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – May 16, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

LAX KW’ALAAMS, B.C. — Aboriginal artist Lianna Spence will treasure this feast long after the 100 friends and relatives finish their plates filled with B.C. seafood.

It is a special occasion for this late-afternoon potluck lunch at the elders’ lodge in Lax Kw’alaams. On a long table are an array of delicacies, including dried salmon and halibut, smoked black cod, boiled Dungeness crab and fried eulachon – small fish that many natives enjoy eating whole, from head to tail.

It is a day to laugh and cry as residents share memories to celebrate the life of Ms. Spence’s great-grandmother, Vera, who raised her in Lax Kw’alaams, a remote B.C. community accessible by boat or float plane. Ms. Spence, 32, spent months carving and painting an elaborate totem pole in honour of Vera, who died in 2006 at the age of 87.

During this long day full of emotion, Ms. Spence takes time to talk about a subject that has dominated the Lax Kw’alaams people’s thoughts over the past couple of weeks – Pacific NorthWest LNG’s $1-billion cash offer to the 3,600-member band, or the equivalent of almost $320,000 a person. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th May 2015

Close the gap between Canada and its aboriginal people: AFN chief – by Kim MacKrael (Globe and Mail – May 14, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — The leader of the country’s largest aboriginal group is calling on Ottawa to close the gap between Canada and its aboriginal people as the UN prepares to adopt a new set of sustainable development goals.

Perry Bellegarde said in an interview Wednesday that the federal government should invest more in education, training and housing to bring conditions for aboriginal Canadians in line with the rest of the country. The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations said he plans to bring that message Thursday to a gathering of international development experts and non-governmental organizations in Gatineau, Que.

Mr. Bellegarde’s comments come as the United Nations prepares to adopt a new set of global targets to replace eight millennium development goals when they expire at the end of this year. The new objectives will cover 17 target areas, ranging from ending poverty to combatting climate change and reducing inequality. Unlike the previous goals, the new targets have been explicitly developed to be universally applicable, which means wealthy countries like Canada will be expected to work toward achieving them alongside lower-income countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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12th May 2015

Nunavut review board decision on uranium mine “not what we expected,” Areva says – by Sarah Rogers (Nunatsiaq News – May 11, 2015)

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/

But Areva will go on with summer exploration work

Areva Resources Canada Inc. says it is “disappointed” with the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s recommendation that the mining company’s uranium project not go ahead.

After almost six years of environmental assessment, the NIRB recommended May 8 that Areva Canada’s proposed Kiggavik mine, in exploration outside of Baker Lake, “should not proceed at this time.” The NIRB decided that, because Areva cannot provided a definite schedule for the project’s launch, the board cannot do an accurate assessment of the project’s environmental and social impacts.

But Barry McCallum, manager of Nunavut affairs for Areva, said the company submitted what it believed was a “sound” final environmental impact statement. “It’s not what we expected,” he said. “We were transparent in our plans to develop.”

The poor market conditions under which AREVA was developing its uranium project meant the mine’s timeline was never certain, although McCallum assured the project is part of the company’s plans. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th May 2015

Transparency act could muddy things with FNs, assoc. warns – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – May 11, 2015)

http://www.northernlife.ca/

Aimed at corruption, Mining Assoc. prez says act could be used against First Nations

A new transparency act for the mining industry may go too far when it comes to First Nations, says the Mining Association of Canada.

The Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA), which received royal assent in December 2014, and is expected to come into effect in June, requires mining companies to publicly disclose payments greater than $100,000 they make to foreign and domestic governments.

“It’s an anti-corruption measure,” said Pierre Gratton, the president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. “By having companies disclose what they pay, then citizens of those countries can ask questions about what their governments might be doing with that money.”

The act’s purpose, as it appears in the document itself, is to “implement Canada’s international commitments to participate in the fight against corruption through the implementation of measures applicable to the extractive sector, including measures that enhance transparency and measures that impose reporting obligations with respect to payments made by entities.” Read the rest of this entry »

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8th May 2015

Opinion: Mining industry continues as integral part of B.C. fabric – by Karina Brino (Vancouver Sun – May 7, 2015)

http://www.vancouversun.com/index.html

Karina Briño is president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia.

Mining Week is a time when British Columbians have the opportunity to celebrate an industry that has greatly contributed to the prosperity of this province since before it joined Confederation in 1871.

Mining operations provide payments to government that help fund health care, social programs and education, and create thousands of jobs across the province. British Columbia is a global centre for mining and is home to some of the most innovative, sustainable mining companies in the world. Thanks to its diverse geology, the province is rich in high quality mineral resources, in every corner of the province.

Despite all these advantages, 2014 was a challenging year for the B.C. mining industry. Largely due to falling commodity prices, several operating mines were placed in care and maintenance, resulting in workforce reductions, primarily in the North Eastern corner of the province. These external pressures are continuing in 2015.

Notwithstanding these challenges, there are a significant number of projects in the approval process which provide an opportunity for growth of the mining industry, further strengthening the provincial economy. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th May 2015

Important to get Ring of Fire ‘right': Gravelle – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – May 08, 2015)

http://www.northernlife.ca/

Mines minister addresses Chamber of Commerce

Despite some frustration the Ring of Fire development has been at a standstill for years, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said it’s important to “get it right” before moving ahead with any infrastructure investments.

Gravelle was in Sudbury Thursday, where he addressed the city’s Chamber of Commerce with an update on Ontario’s mining sector.

While the province has committed to invest $1 billion to build infrastructure to connect the remote Ring of Fire mineral deposit by road, it has not yet provided any details as to when that work will begin.

“Timelines can and may be altered depending on moving forward with the work we’re doing with the Ring of Fire Development Corporation,” Gravelle said after his speech.

Gravelle said the companies involved in the Ring of Fire understand moving their deposits into production will take time. “(Noront Resources president and CEO Alan Coutts) wants to see the project move as quickly as possible, but he’s cautious, as we are, that we make sure the First Nations that are directly impacted by any mine development, that we make sure they can see real benefits from the project,” Gravelle said. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th May 2015

First Nations firmly rooted on both sides of the resource development debate – by Trevor McLeod and Roger Gibbins (Troy Media – May 6, 2015)

http://www.troymedia.com/

Trevor McLeod is the Director of the Centre for Natural Resources Policy at the Canada West Foundation and Roger Gibbins is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation. www.cwf.ca

CALGARY, AB – Potential resource developments too often face an unbridgeable abyss, with project proponents perched on one side and First Nations and environmentalists on the other. Unfortunately, the historic bridge-builders are absent.

Governments have abandoned the space and are assumed to favour project proponents. Regulators, like the National Energy Board, are able to answer “how” a resource might be developed but do not always have the scope to answer the “should” question.

And so we have a stalemate, which is a win for those opposed to development – and a signal to the business community to take its money elsewhere.

If we rethink our initial assumptions, however, we may realize it is a mistake to place First Nations on either side of the abyss. In fact, they are firmly rooted on both sides. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th May 2015

Participation of First Nations vital to success – by Tim Gitzel (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – May 7, 2015)

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/index.html

Tim Gitzel is president and CEO of Cameco Corporation.

Development of Canada’s wealth of resources has potential to deliver many generations of prosperity for Canadians.

We have what the world needs. Over the next decade, an estimated $675 billion in resource development projects are planned across Canada. This is a truly incredible opportunity.

We can attract billions in capital investment and become a trusted, reliable supplier of energy, minerals and other materials for the rapidly growing economies of China, India and other developing nations. These projects would deliver high-quality employment and business opportunities for many thousands of Canadians and strong, sustained revenue for governments.

However, without respectful, mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and Canada’s aboriginal people, none of this will happen.

Almost all of the major resource projects on the horizon have a footprint on aboriginal traditional territory. Aboriginal people must be effectively consulted and engaged in the development of natural resources and must share in the prosperity it brings. Otherwise, the incredible opportunity will be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th May 2015

NEWS RELEASE: NAN CHALLENGES FEDERAL COMMITMENT TO MEETING INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS OF FIRST NATIONS

http://www.nan.on.ca/

(May 6, 2015) – THUNDER BAY: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno is challenging the Government of Canada’s commitment to meeting the infrastructure needs of First Nations despite claims made by Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt in the House of Commons yesterday.

When pressured by the Opposition over his government’s failure to assist with the a state of emergency in Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation, which is cut off from the mainland without ferry service and has spent the last 17 years on a boil water advisory, the Minister made vague references to Canada-wide funding commitments his government has repeated for years instead of making a firm commitment to fixing the water and infrastructure needs of Shoal Lake and many First Nations.

“The dire situation in Shoal Lake is very much like that across much of NAN territory, where many First Nations have been on drinking water advisories for more than 10 years and nearly all communities are in need of new or upgraded water and wastewater systems and other critical infrastructure like housing, police, firefighting, health care and education facilities,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno. “It is shameful that the Minister is touting nearly decade-old funding commitments instead of making the necessary investments to improve the quality of life in our impoverished communities. If the Minister was truly committed to the health and safety of First Nations we would see more action from this government.” Read the rest of this entry »

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6th May 2015

Vaughn Palmer: Coal deal heralds future of resource development – by Vaughn Palmer (Vancoucer Sun – May 4, 2015)

http://www.vancouversun.com/index.html

Rights holders compensated and mine plan frozen, with possibility of future joint venture with First Nation

VICTORIA — When Mines Minister Bill Bennett met with reporters at the legislature late Monday afternoon, he announced an innovative solution to a dispute over some coal mining licences that also heralded the future for resource development in B.C.

The specifics involved some 61 privately held mineral licences, together forming the basis for an anthracite coal mine in the Klappan region in the northwest of the province.

Together they also formed the basis for a decade-long standoff between the two private company holders of the licences and the Tahltan First Nation, in whose traditional territory the mining property was located.

The Tahltan opposed the project, a determination manifested with blockades going back 10 years. Thus stalled, the rights-holders — Fortune Minerals and POSCO Canada — had no practical option to develop their property, acquired in good faith in 2002. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th May 2015

B.C. government buys coal licences to stop mining dispute – by Justine Hunter and Ian Bailey (Globe and Mail – May 5, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VICTORIA and VANCOUVER — The B.C. government has devised a unique solution to head off conflict between a First Nations community and the developers of a proposed a coal mine, using its Crown corporation BC Rail to buy and hold coal licences during talks with the Tahltan Nation on managing the resource.

The province is paying $18.3-million to buy 61 licences from Fortune Minerals Ltd. and POSCO Canada Ltd. in a region dubbed the Sacred Headwaters in northwest British Columbia. The area is important to the Tahltan Nation because the headwaters of three important salmon rivers – the Stikine, Skeena and Nass – are there.

The companies will be able to buy back the assets at their original price if they reach an agreement with the Tahltan in the next 10 years.

Anthracite coal deposits that the companies want to mine are in an area within the Sacred Headwaters called the Klappan, which has been identified as having significant cultural significance to the First Nations community. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th May 2015

‘Game changer': Gas company offers $1-billion to First Nations band in B.C. – by Justine Hunter and Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – May 1, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VICTORIA and VANCOUVER — The proponent of a liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia’s north coast is offering more than $1-billion to obtain the consent of a First Nations community, a groundbreaking proposal that could establish the new price for natural resource development in traditional aboriginal territories.

In a province where resource projects have stalled and sometimes foundered over aboriginal opposition, the tentative deal between the Prince Rupert-based Lax Kw’alaams band and a joint venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas sets a new benchmark for sharing the wealth from energy extraction.

If approved by band members, the agreement will transfer roughly $1-billion in cash to the Lax Kw’alaams band over the span of the 40-year deal, while the B.C. government is putting more than $100-million worth of Crown lands on the table. For the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw’alaams community, the total package works out to a value of roughly $320,000 per person. Read the rest of this entry »

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