7th July 2015

Native Americans protest proposed Arizona copper mine – by David Schwartz (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2015)


PHOENIX – Members of a Native American tribe in Arizona took to the roadways on Monday to protest against a proposal for a massive copper mine at a small town east of Phoenix, vowing to protect sacred lands.

A small group from the San Carlos Apache tribe began a scheduled cross-country caravan to Washington, D.C., to try to persuade the U.S. Congress to save an area known as the Oak Flat campground near Superior, Arizona.

The several dozen protesters hope to garner wide public support and get lawmakers to repeal a land exchange signed last year that paves the way for a $6 billion project by Resolution Copper Mining, a company jointly owned by Britain’s Rio Tinto and Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd.

“This is sacred land to us and what they are doing is a betrayal,” tribal elder Sandra Rambler said in a telephone interview from the caravan. “It’s like someone ripping the guts out of you right when you’re standing there. We will not sit still and allow this to happen.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Copper, United States Mining | 0 Comments

6th July 2015

[Canada] Industry: Feds wrong to apply anti-corruption rules to FNs – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 03, 2015)


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, which received royal assent in December 2014, 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 (MAC). “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.”

But when the Mining Association of Canada teamed up with non-governmental organizations to propose the legislation for the federal government, it didn’t intend for the rules to apply to First Nations as well.

“We actually discussed with the NGOs that very issue right at the beginning,” Gratton said. “And we all agreed that was too complex and would require extensive consultation we don’t have the capacity to do.” Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd July 2015

First Nation, engineering firm breaking new ground on joint venture – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 30, 2015)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

In his 25 years in the engineering profession, Eric Zakrewski calls his Thunder Bay company’s business venture with Fort William First Nation a “gold star example” in Northern Ontario of a successful partnership between the private sector and an Aboriginal community.

Now entering its fifth fiscal year, Oshki-Aki Limited Partnership is creating employment and mentorship opportunities for Fort William members to learn and build skills toward permanent careers in the consulting and engineering field.

“This has been one of the things I’m probably most proud about in terms of our achievement as a private sector engineering firm,” said Zakrewski, the president-CEO of True Grit Consulting. “We set out to become partners with these folks, they trusted us, and the business and relationship has flourished.”

Incorporated in Dec. 2011, Oshki-Aki LP is a partnership between Fort William First Nation and True Grit Consulting that created a new environmental engineering company. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd July 2015

Plan Nord: Québec’s First Nations on the Fence – by Nellie Peyton (World Policy Blog – July 2, 2015)


When Québec Premier Philippe Couillard presented his ambitious development plan for the province’s northern territory to a room full of potential New York investors last week, he was emphatic in declaring his concern and regard for the aboriginal communities in the region.

“The First Nations want development, but not just any kind of development,” Couillard said at a press conference following the event. He explained that the kind they want will contribute to the social development of their communities, provide decent jobs for their youth, and respect their traditional way of life. He also said that his government has been communicating with the First Nations “from the very beginning” of the project, to make sure that they are on board with the major changes that will soon be coming to their homelands.

“Plan Nord” is Québec’s new $50 billion development plan, focused on natural resources extraction in an area about twice the size of Texas. The region is home to over 120,000 people, of whom one third are aboriginals. Couillard’s concern for indigenous interests is well-intentioned as Québec begins to roll out its 20-year plan. But he is downplaying many of the conflicts that the project poses for aboriginal communities, and his stated aim of including them from the beginning has already hit rocky ground.

“We’ve always had difficulty engaging with the province,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Québec and Labrador. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th June 2015

Mount Polley could reopen in July: mines minister (CBC News B.C. – June 30, 2015)


11 months after its tailings pond collapsed, Mount Polley mine set to get approval to reopen

Less than a year after the Mount Polley tailings pond collapsed, spilling toxic waste water in central B.C. waterways, the mine could reopen as early as July, says B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett.

“The public, I’m sure, assumes that politicians make these decisions and we often don’t,” said Bennett. “I’m advised by the statutory decision makers in this case that the information from the company is there. Its being assessed. It’s probable Mount Polley will get a permit to open in the next couple of weeks.”

Last August, a wall of the Mount Polley tailings pond broke and spilled 10 billion litres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of sand laden with toxic arsenic, nickel and lead into B.C.’s waterways. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th June 2015

Ring of Fire flyover photos raise concern – by Jeff Labine (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – June 30, 2015)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

A Toronto-based environmental group is claiming mining exploration in the Ring of Fire has already caused damaged to the Far North’s ecosystem.

The Wildlands League, which is a not-for-profit charity, released a series of aerial photos on Monday showing some of the exploration in the Ring of Fire area. The photos were taken last March when the group was heading to a First Nations community for a visit. One of the photos was of Esker Camp, which is about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, as well as some of the camps that were once held by Cliffs Natural Resources and a runway.

The group claims that the photos challenge the idea of early mining exploration having little impact to the area.

Anna Baggio, the director of conservation planning with Wildlands League, said they have shown the pictures to First Nations advisors and government officials including the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and all have been surprised by what they have seen.

“People haven’t really grasped what’s been going on in the Ring of Fire, even with early explorations,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th June 2015

Miners create community with food – by Maureen Arges Nadin (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – June 29, 2015)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

‘Food is one of the only comforts that people have when they are away from home,” says Allan Bedard, manager of Windigo Ventures and Catering.

And he is someone who knows, as his company supplies, plans and prepares nutritious and tasty food to feed and comfort FIFO (fly in fly out) workers at mining camps like Goldcorp’s camp at Musselwhite.

FIFO lifestyle is an occupational reality for many workers in the mining industry who are flown in on a rotational basis from various parts of Northwestern Ontario and other parts of Canada.

And attracting and retaining workers who are facing being away from their families for two weeks at a time can be a challenge. Many FIFO workers will say that when they are away, their co-workers and the people who provide support services at the mine, become their second family. And families generally eat together. This is a dynamic that Bedard understands well.

“It fosters a sense of community when we live with people and share food,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Gold and Silver, Goldcorp Inc., Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

29th June 2015

AUDIO: Mining exploration causing permanent damage in Ring of Fire, Wildlands League says – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 29, 2015)


Environmental group takes photos to show landscape is ‘disturbed and disrupted’

Photos released Monday by the Wildlands League are proof that mining activity is causing permanent damage in a fragile ecosystem in northern Ontario, according to the environmental group.

The pictures of a snowy boreal forest patterned with grid lines and pockmarked by drill rig indentations were taken during a March flight across the mineral-rich area, known as the Ring of Fire, in the James Bay lowlands.

The images challenge the idea that early mining exploration is benign, said Wildlands League director of conservation planning, Anna Baggio.

“I don’t think people fully grasp how much activity has happened just at the exploration stage and what is being done to the land here,” Baggio said. “If all the claims were to be developed at a similar level of intensity, it would modify the entire landscape.”

Nearly two dozen companies hold claims, spending more than $278 million on exploration in an area that has yielded “significant discoveries” of chromite, nickel and copper-zinc, according to the province’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Environmental and Water Shortage Issues, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

26th June 2015

Lutsel K’e First Nation says board caved to De Beers in Snap Lake decision – by Guy Quenneville (CBC News North – June 26, 2015)


First Nation’s land manager says De Beers issued ‘ultimatum’ to board to have dissolved solids limit increased

The manager of environment for the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) says the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board has caved in to pressure from De Beers Canada, the owner of the N.W.T.’s Snap Lake diamond mine.

On Thursday, the board recommended changes to De Beers’ water licence for Snap Lake — changes that De Beers hopes will make it easier for the company to manage a higher than expected volume of underground water rich in total dissolved solids, and which, according to the company, are needed to keep the mine from closing prematurely.

But Peter Unger, the manager of wildlife, lands and environment for the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, says De Beers is just playing hardball to get what it wants

“It’s very difficult to not see that as a form of threat, really,” said Unger. “That is one of the things that disturbs us: the mining company was able to come in and basically issue an ultimatum to the board. And it kind of looks like that ultimatum worked.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Diamonds | 0 Comments

26th June 2015

Commentary: Safety first for a new generation of Cree miners – by Daniel Bland (Northern Miner – June 26, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

“Working underground for me is like working in your basement for you.” That’s the first thing Marcelin Bruneau tells the 12 young Crees sitting in front of him. That gets their interest. “When I started mining in 1930,” he continues, “there were no rules about safety underground.” A wry smile, some mental math and confused looks among the Crees prompts the admission: “Bon. Maybe not 1930. But a long, long time ago!”

Marcelin Bruneau has spent more than forty years working as an underground miner. He got what he calls his first real job as a teenager in the early 1970s when he was hired by Noranda Mines as an underground helper. That was the beginning of a mining career that would take him not only across Canada — to Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and B.C. — but overseas to Australia and Indonesia and see him work with over 20 mining companies and contractors.

In 2008, Bruneau was hired as an instructor by the Centre de Formation Professionnelle in the mining town of Val-d’Or, Que. His experience made him a natural and he spent five years delivering a six-month training program in underground ore extraction to students from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of southwestern Quebec.

Then, with mines under construction farther north on James Bay Cree land and job opportunities for Crees on the horizon, Bruneau remembered an old friend and accepted a new challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Quebec Mining | 0 Comments

26th June 2015

Aboriginal employment a focus for Hudbay – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – June 25, 2015)


In 2013, at the height of the Idle No More protest movement, Hudbay found itself mired in controversy.

Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, a small native band based in Pukatawagan, declared the company in breach of treaty law by opening its Lalor and Reed mines near Snow Lake without First Nations consent.

The powers that be (and much of the public) sided with Hudbay and mining carried on as planned. The episode may have soured some First Nations people on Hudbay, but it hasn’t dampened the company’s enthusiasm for bringing more Aboriginals – perhaps a lot more – into the workforce.

“We find that building familiarity and understanding is what we need to accomplish,” says Rob Winton, vice-president, Manitoba Business Unit for Hudbay. “If you don’t work in a sector, you might know what it does in the broadest sense but not have much familiarity with all the aspects and details of it. I don’t think that’s unusual or unique to First Nations. But because we want to provide opportunity for Aboriginal people to be part of Hudbay, we’re trying to bridge that gap. We want them to see and believe that Hudbay is an option.” Read the rest of this entry »

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25th June 2015

Ontario clears framework for Noront to work with First Nations – by Jon Thompson (tbnewswatch.com – June 23, 2015)


“I’d like to throw this out to industry: if you want to work with First nations,
resource them enough so that we work together. We’re not in opposition, we’re
pro-development. We want to make sure that when the mine is gone, we’re still
going to be there.” (Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon)

Terms of reference are in place for how the first mining project in the Ring Of Fire will work with nearby communities on environmental assessment.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change approved the plan for the Eagle’s Nest nickel mine on Friday, nearly three years after proponent, Noront made its first submission.

Noront continued social and technical work over that time, meeting with First Nations and operating with the best information available.

“We said, ‘we’re going to assume our terms of reference are right and we’re going to do the environmental work that supports those terms of reference,’ which we did over those three years,” said Noront CEO Alan Coutts, on Tuesday.

“If there were amendments, we’d deal with them when they came.” The final draft commits the company to supporting the collection of Aboriginal traditional knowledge and incorporating it into environmental planning. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th June 2015

Red Chris proves B.C. still yields ‘good deposits’ – by Matthew Robinson (Vancouver Sun – June 23, 2015)


Imperial Metals estimates it will spend the next 30 years extracting gold, copper from site

VANCOUVER — Nearly six decades have passed since copper and gold deposits were found near Iskut, a Tahltan village in northwestern B.C.

Last week, after years of exploration, planning and negotiation, Imperial Metals received a full operating permit from the province to extract those deposits at its controversial Red Chris mine.

It was a big announcement for the Vancouver company, which has faced considerable opposition to the mine from environmental watchdogs, members of the local First Nation and Alaskans.

Red Chris is Imperial Metals’ largest mine and one the company sees as producing for years to come, said Steve Robertson, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs.

“This is a huge milestone for us,” Robertson said. “(Imperial Metals) has been around since the ’50s and we’ve been slowly establishing our foothold in the mining business in the province of B.C. and the Red Chris project will really put us on a new plateau.” Read the rest of this entry »

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24th June 2015

First Nations better off to negotiate than litigate on resource projects, says report – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – June 24, 2015)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

A string of legal victories has emboldened Canada’s First Nations to command unprecedented say over resource projects, the latest example being last month’s Lax Kw’alaams refusal of a $1.14-billion benefits package rather than giving consent to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in northern British Columbia.

But constitutional scholar Dwight Newman argues the legal winning streak may be coming to an end.

Indeed, in a new research report for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute — entitled Is the Sky the Limit? — Newman argues last year’s Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted title to the B.C. community based on evidence of its use of land may mark the legal peak for aboriginal claims.

“Anyone has the right to press the full extent of their legal rights, (but) Canada may have reached a point where aboriginal groups might be setting back their own position by litigating,” writes Newman, a professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law at the University of Saskatchewan. “We have already seen cases of what might be described as overreach by First Nations, pushing for rights beyond those they can plausibly attain within the legal system.” Read the rest of this entry »

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24th June 2015

Liberals failing to deliver on Ring of Fire, opposition says – by Richard J. Brennan (Toronto Star – June 24, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

The real Ring of Fire wealth sits untouched at Queen’s Park.

Experts say there are untold riches in the Ring of Fire but the real pot of gold sits untouched at Queen’s Park.

Not a dime of the $1 billion the provincial government has set aside to develop the mineral-rich area in northwestern Ontario has been spent. And it may not for a few years yet.

Last summer, Premier Kathleen Wynne made Ring of Fire development a central part of her election platform. However, the money is not officially booked until 2018-19, which is after the next provincial election.

“There is nothing preventing this provincial government to start building those roads to those communities and electrifying them . . . the government is in the driver’s seat here,” NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

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