Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Ring of Pants-on-Fire: Kathleen Wynne’s ‘weeks, not months’ deadline blows by – by John Michael McGrath (TV Ontario – July 25, 2017)

OPINION: This spring, Ontario’s premier seemed determined to speed up negotiations on developing the mineral-rich Ring of Fire — then, nothing happened.

Neither Premier Kathleen Wynne nor the Ontario Liberals generally are predisposed to playing the heavy with Indigenous communities. The Grits won the 2003 election partly on a pledge to establish better relations with Indigenous people, in contrast with the acrimony — and violence — of the Mike Harris years. Wynne has made reconciliation a personal mission in her time as premier.

So it was notable that she wrote a letter this spring to the Matawa Chiefs Council urging a speedy resolution to negotiations on developing the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich region northeast of Thunder Bay that’s smack-dab in the middle of multiple First Nations territories. Wynne said she hoped for “meaningful progress in weeks, not months” on an agreement to build transportation infrastructure to the chromite and nickel deposits there.

Well, it’s been months, not weeks, yet the government has announced no major progress on an agreement, and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines had no new details to report this week in response to inquiries from Continue Reading →

Aboriginal-owned Mine company goes belly-up – by Keith Dempsey (Sudbury Star – July 25, 2017)

A company operating in the Sudbury area has gone bankrupt, despite a $4.3-million infusion from the provincial government in 2013. That information came to light after the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change revealed last week that Mohawk Garnet Inc. was fined more than $300,000 for discharging a harmful contaminant — in this case, dust.

It’s unclear, however, whether the fine will ever be paid, since Mohawk Garnet, which operated on the Wahnapitae First Nation near Capreol, appears to have no money.

“It’s disappointing this company has gone out of business,” said Norm Miller, a Conservative Parry Sound MPP and critic for Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “This is further proof that the Liberal government’s Northern Growth Plan that was implemented in 2011 is just not working.” Continue Reading →

Würth Canada and Missanabie Cree First Nation sign joint venture agreement – by Rob O’Flanagan (Northern Ontario Business – July 21, 2017)

The two parties will work together to supply northern Ontario gold mines on Missanabie Cree territory

Würth Canada, headquartered in Guelph, has signed an important agreement with the northern Ontario community of Missanabie Cree First Nation. The First Nation, with traditional lands located about 400 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, has agreements with two private mining companies with operations on those lands.

Chief Jason Gauthier said during an agreement signing event Thursday at Würth’s 345 Hanlon Creek Boulevard location, that the First Nation has agreements to provide services and personnel on some aspects of those mining operations. To meet those obligations, Missanabie Cree has partnered with Würth as a supplier.

The signing included a prayer of thanksgiving, and a gift of tobacco to the Indigenous visitors. Würth is an international company with 70,000 employees worldwide. In 2013, the company had $14 billion in sales. Its Canadian arm was founded in 1971. Continue Reading →

Traditional owners win native title fight with Fortescue – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – July 20, 2017)

Native title holders in the Pilbara will seek compensation after winning their long-running battle with iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group. In a judgment on Thursday, the Federal Court awarded the Yindjibarndi people exclusive rights over a section of Pilbara land where Fortescue operates the Solomon mine.

Shortly after the judgment was handed down, senior Yindjibarndi lawman Michael Woodley vowed to launch a compensation claim against the iron ore miner.

“We believe strongly they are liable for what they’ve been doing for the last eight years on our country, mining without our … prior and informed consent,” Mr Woodley told the ABC. In his decision, Justice Steven Rares pointed to the presence of the Yindjibarndi in the area well before European settlement and the fact there were important cultural sites near the Fortescue mine. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation make the case for Ring of Fire smelter – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 20, 2017)

Economic developers take Noront miners on brownfields tour

Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation made a joint push this week to be the host site for a ferrochrome smelter serving the Ring of Fire.

Local economic development officials took representatives from Noront Resources, the biggest claimholder in the Far North mineral belt, on a tour of area industrial sites, hoping to sway the Toronto mine developer to pick northwestern Ontario for a $600-million to $800-million processing plant.

John Mason, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission’s mining services project manager, said the tour was basically to give Noront president Alan Coutts and chief development officer Steve Flewelling a better on-the-ground appreciation of what land and infrastructure is available.

The tour took them to the Grand Trunk Railway lands on the Fort William reserve and a mixture of private and government-owned parcels of waterfront brownfields in the Mission and McKellar Islands area. “It was essentially a waterfront, or water-themed, tour,” said Mason. Continue Reading →

Historic deal ensures First Nations participation in new potash mine – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – June 1, 2017)

Three levels of government, a mining company and a First Nation have come together in a historic agreement to develop a new potash mine in Saskatchewan. The joint venture between Encanto Potash Corp. and the Muskowekwan First Nation is truly unique. Together they plan to develop a solution mine near the town of Lestock on property within the Muskowekwan reserve.

The Muskowekwan are joining the project as full participants, with all the economic and revenue opportunities that entails. And the community is enthusiastic about the prospects.

Over the long life of a Saskatchewan potash mine, this could be worth billions to the First Nation, as chief Reg Bellerose told CMJ. There are about 2,000 members of the Muskowekwan First Nation, but only about 700 or 800 live on the reserves because the economic opportunities lie elsewhere. Continue Reading →

Game changer: NIRB now says yes to Nunavut’s Back River mine – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – July 19, 2017)

“Sabina’s revised plans now constitute some of the most protective caribou protection measures ever developed for the Arctic”

It turns out that now is a good time to go ahead with Sabina’s Back River gold mine project. After saying “no” to the multi-million dollar Kitikmeot project in June 2016, and being told by a federal minister that “no” was the wrong answer, the Nunavut Impact Review Board “has concluded that the Back River Gold Mine Project Proposal may proceed at this time.”

However, the NIRB says this was not a foregone conclusion.

“For those who may have expressed concern that the Board’s further consideration of the Project would be a ’rubber stamp’ only, and would not lead to any substantive improvements to the Project, the Board notes that the further consideration was conducted with the same care and thoroughness as the original assessment,” the NIRB said in a July 18 news release. Continue Reading →

[Yukon Mining] S-6 failed to offer perfect solutions: Cathers – by Sidney Cohen (Whitehorse Star – May 18, 2017)

In a rare turnabout, the Yukon Party is throwing its support behind Bill C-17, federal legislation that repeals four contentious amendments made to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) by the previous Conservative government through Bill S-6.

“Moving forward with the amendments contained in Bill C 17 is probably the best course of action at this point in time because of the concerns by CYFN (Council of Yukon First Nations) and individual First Nations,” Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers told the House on Wednesday.

The legislative assembly unanimously voted Wednesday in favour of a motion to support the federal Liberals’ efforts to pass Bill C-17, which is currently before Parliament. YESSA spells out the process for assessing all Yukon lands for development, and is part of the Umbrella Final Agreement between Yukon First Nations, the territory and Canada. Continue Reading →

Canadian Mining: Nothing To Hide – by Ashley Renders (Vice News Canada – July 18, 2017)

Thanks to a new rule, the Canadian mining industry has become a lot more transparent

The amount of money that companies like Barrick Gold and ExxonMobil actually give to governments of countries that they extract resources from is now publicly available online thanks to a Canadian bill that was passed back in 2015.

This is significant because that information cannot be gleaned directly from the annual reports of publicly-listed companies, making it difficult to determine if resource companies were actually paying their fair share in taxes and royalties to governments.

The Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) was brought into force on June 1, 2015, and required that all oil, gas and mining companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges disclose payments to governments of $100,000 CAD and over on a project-by-project basis. Continue Reading →


Vancouver, BC – Sabina Gold & Silver Corp (SBB.T), (“Sabina” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has received a copy of the Second Final Hearing Report (the “Report”) from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (the “NIRB”). In the report, the NIRB has recommended to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (“INAC”) that development of the Company’s 100%-owned Back River Gold Project (“Back River” or the “Project”) in Nunavut, Canada, should proceed to the licensing phase.

This positive recommendation by NIRB concludes a five year comprehensive NIRB review and public hearing processes involving Inuit, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (“KIA”), Federal and Territorial governments, and community and other Northern representatives. This recommendation follows a direction of the Minister to the NIRB in January 2017 to reconsider the project after an initial negative recommendation from the NIRB in July 2016.

In February this year, a Final Environmental Impact Statement Addendum was submitted to the NIRB focusing on the areas that were identified as outstanding concerns in the First Final Hearing Report. The review of this addendum by all parties culminated in a second final technical and public hearing that took place in Cambridge Bay during May 27th to June 3, 2017. Continue Reading →

YESAB says Goldcorp failed to consult First Nations, halts Coffee mine assessment – by Lori Garrison (Yukon News – July 14, 2017)

‘They just came in and completely failed to read the local landscape’

The Yukon Environmental Socio-Economic Assessment Board has discontinued its assessment of the proposed Coffee gold mine on the grounds that Goldcorp did not adequately consult with the affected First Nations governments.

“Having carefully reviewed the information in Goldcorp’s proposal as well as the comments provided by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Selkirk First Nation, the executive committee is of the opinion that Goldcorp has not met its obligation to consult in relation to those First Nations and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun,” YESAB’s executive committee wrote in its report, issued July 12.

“The only aspect we’re looking at is the consultation record…. They (Goldcorp) are missing pieces of it,” said Rob Yeoman, a spokesperson for YESAB. Goldcorp appears to have tried to rush through the consultation process in an effort to meet what mine general manager Buddy Crill referred to as an “aggressive” March 31 assessment deadline. Continue Reading →

Protest camp built on proposed site of Sisson mine project – by Shane Fowler CBC News New Brunswick – July 18, 2018)

First Nations protesters in N.B. planning to last the winter at the remote site of Sisson mine project

Members of Maliseet First Nations have started to build a protest camp at the proposed site of the Sisson mine near Napadogan. Tents, campers, and other homemade structures have been set up in hopes of deterring future development of a proposed tungsten and molybdenum mine.

“I am a Wulustukyik grandmother and I am here defending the land,” said Terry Sappier, who has been living in the camp most of the time since it was built July 2. “I’m defending it for our future generations.”

On Monday afternoon, there were a half dozen men, woman and children at the campsite as part of the Wulustukyik Nation Grandmothers and Mothers group. Many were working to build additional structures, including a shower station, as the group plans to live in the remote location “for as long as it takes.” Continue Reading →

Not all Indigenous peoples oppose pipeline development – by Ken Coates (Globe and Mail – July 10, 2017)

Broad claims by politicians on behalf of Indigenous peoples reveal how little
public recognition there is of the great efforts Indigenous peoples have made
to secure a fair place for their communities and companies in the resource
sector. Pipeline firms have numerous agreements with Indigenous communities.
So do forestry and mining companies. Indigenous leaders may oppose one
project, but accept another.

The lessons for Canadian politicians should be clear by now. Not all Indigenous
peoples oppose development. Many, if not most, realize their hopes for economic
well-being and independence from the Government of Canada rest on carefully
planned and appropriately structured resource projects.

Ken Coates is a Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Federal NDP leadership candidate and current Ontario MPP, Jagmeet Singh, is the latest politician to jump into the critical world of Indigenous affairs by offering quick and simple solutions to complex issues.

He has declared that he will, if elected prime minister, adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline to the B.C. coast and kill the Energy East pipeline for good measure.

These are no doubt popular positions in some NDP circles, and even with significant numbers of Indigenous communities, but it is a mistake to project them uncritically onto Indigenous peoples. Continue Reading →

Cheryl Recollet : Wahnapitae First Nation Director of Sustainable Development – Mining and Indigenous People – New Cooperation



The Wahnapitae First Nation, near Sudbury, has taken a proactive approach to promote environmental sustainability in dealing with mining companies. Cheryl Recollet, Director of Sustainable Development, will tell us how and why the partnership works.

Cheryl Recollet is the key point of contact for consultation and negotiation strategies with industry and the government — including implementing and monitoring environmental components of mining relationships. Continue Reading →

Agreement between Western Shoshone and Barrick mining benefits both – by Sally Roberts (Northern Nevada Business Weekly – July 10, 2017)

Hostilities have long persisted between Nevada’s mining companies and the state’s Native American population. That was particularly true in the Elko area in the early years of this century.

“There were many many years of bad, difficult communications with Placer Dome, which had a different way of approaching the concerns of the Western Shoshone,” remembers Brian Mason, a member of the Western Shoshone, and now program manager of Native American Affairs for Barrick Gold Corporation.

Mason began his work in mining with Placer Dome’s environmental restoration department. Whenever Placer Dome opened the permitting process for a project, which includes public comment, it faced 200 to 300 objections from tribal members, he said. That led to lawsuits and court delays. Continue Reading →