SMOOTH ROCK FALLS – Nearly 30 years of work by the members of the Taykwa Tagamou First Nation culminated in a ceremony held along the bank on the New Post Creek north of Smooth Rock Falls on Thursday morning.
The location is the future site of the Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station, which is a joint project between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and a band-owned company, Coral Rapids Power. Although construction began on the $300 million hydroelectric dam months ago, the official announcement of the project was an emotional one for the First Nation members; some of whom have worked for decades to make it a reality.
“It took a big team to put this together. We had to push hard for it, and sometimes it nearly went off the rails. But we had a dream, and it is now a reality,” said band councillor and former chief Peter Archibald, who has worked on the project since 1979. “When this started, I had long hair that was black. Look at me now — falling out and white!”
Once completed, the new dam will produce 28 megawatts of power; enough to power 1,000 to 2,000 homes. The construction of the dam is expected to create 220 construction jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
(August 27, 2015 – Thunder Bay) Wataynikaneyap Power achieved a new milestone today by signing a Partnership Agreement with FortisOntario Inc., and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (“Fortis-RES Partnership”) to expand grid connection to sixteen (16) remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario.
“Our people’s vision is to own, control and benefit from major infrastructure development in our homelands. Through this partnership, we are changing the landscape of how First Nations can do business into the future,” says Margaret Kenequanash, Chair of Wataynikaneyap Power. “Together we have reached a major milestone towards getting our communities off diesel generation, and improving the socio-economic situation for everyone’s benefit.”
Wataynikaneyap Power, owned by 20 First Nation communities, holds a majority interest in the project, which is mandated and supported by community leadership.
The Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, will attend today’s press conference along with several other key provincial dignitaries. “We acknowledge the ongoing commitment from the Province of Ontario to connect remote First Nations to the provincial grid, and thank Minister Chiarelli and his colleagues for their continued strong support,” says Kenequanash. Read the rest of this entry »
AEM believes Amaruq gold deposit, at two million ounces and growing, might extend Meadowbank’s lifespan
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will study the possibility of transforming its promising Amaruq project, now estimated at two million ounces of gold, into a satellite open pit connected to Meadowbank, the company said Aug. 19.
“This rapidly growing deposit remains a focus for the company given its economic potential, partly due to its close proximity to Agnico Eagle’s nearby Meadowbank mine and mill,” the company said in a news release.
The company said in June that drill teams had continued to find high-grade samples at its new Amaruq site that “exceed our expectations.”
Right now, the Meadowbank mine and mill, which started up in 2010 to become Agnico Eagle’s biggest gold producer, is expected to churn out gold bars until the third quarter of 2018.
But there’s now a possibility that an operation at Amaruq, about 50 kilometres from the existing mine and mill, could extend Meadowbank’s lifespan beyond that date. Read the rest of this entry »
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. Rob Sanderson is second vice-president of Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and co-chair of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Mount Polley tailings dam failure, Canada’s worst mining disaster.
That catastrophe in central British Columbia, which unleashed 24 million cubic metres of mine contamination into nearby lakes and waters, served as a wakeup call for everyone who values clean water, wild salmon, fishing and tourism, and ways of life intrinsically tied to pristine lands.
For First Nations and Alaska Native tribes, in particular, Mount Polley was a lightning rod. The disaster brought us together as never before. Alaskans have a clear stake in what’s happening in neighbouring B.C.; at least 10 large mines in the transboundary region have the very real possibility of tainting Alaska’s downstream waters and the billion-dollar seafood and tourism industries these rivers sustain. More so, these developments have the potential to harm our shared rivers, our coastal waters, and the salmon our cultures rely on. Read the rest of this entry »
The second, growing risk, concerns Canada’s ability to exploit natural resources and to deliver on major infrastructure projects of national consequence. Growing lack of clarity on the Crown’s duty to consult and fiduciary requirements, regular threats of litigation and extremely long turnaround times will make governments and industry alike increasingly diffident in betting on Canadian resources and undertaking large-scale national building projects. (Irvin Studin)
Irvin Studin is editor-in-chief and publisher of Global Brief magazine, and president of the Institute for 21st Century Questions.
Apart from the recent Liberal announcement in Saskatoon on First Nations education, the Aboriginal question has not yet really entered the lexicon of the federal election. It should very soon, as it’s by far the most complex and consequential one for Canada today and for the foreseeable future.
What is the Aboriginal question that our leaders must address? On the one hand, it is about how to lift Canada’s indigenous people from the posture of being the losing parties — strategically speaking — in Canadian history to one of being co-equals in Canadian governance this century. On the other hand, it is about ensuring that the Canadian state remains coherent and governable, even as this transition to Aboriginal co-equality takes place. Read the rest of this entry »
MOOSONEE – The Grand Chief-elect of the Mushkegowuk Council, Jonathan Solomon, is vowing to consult with the people and chiefs of the council’s member communities more than his predecessor did.
That is likely to please those who thought Grand Chief Lawrence Martin made too many promises and announcements on important issues without seeking enough input from the communities. It is not likely to please proponents of the already stalled Ring of Fire development.
Back in February, Martin stated his support for a proposed energy and railway corridor running across Mushkegowuk territory from Moosonee to the chromite mining development located 600 kilometres northwest of Timmins.
According to Solomon, that announcement “blindsided” many people within the Mushkegowuk Council, and that under his leadership, they would be stepping back from that commitment.
A powerful alliance of B.C. First Nations and Southeast Alaska natives has been forged in the aftermath of the Mount Polley dam collapse and tribes, who have not worked together for generations, are aiming to put the brakes on B.C.’s border mining boom.
Tears flowed after a May meeting in Vancouver when Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) president Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and vice-president Bob Chamberlin agreed to support the newly formed United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group in its bid for Alaskan — and particularly tribal — input into B.C.’s decision-making process on mines along the Southeast Alaska border.
“We are bringing together the tribes from both sides of the border and building a relationship. We can make more noise together than when we are separated by a border that has not been part of our tradition,” said Mike Hoyt, leader of the Teeyhittaan clan from the Stikine River.
It was a historic meeting that could be a catalyst for change, according to Phillip.
“It was very significant, coming together with our brothers and sisters in Alaska. I think it was a long time coming,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
The first load of iron ore from the Mary River iron mine on northern Baffin Island is now on its way to Germany, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. said Aug. 10.
A bulk ore vessel, the Federal Tiber, departed from the mine’s Milne Inlet port Aug. 8 carrying 53,624 tonnes of iron ore.
The ship is bound for the North Sea port of Nordenham, Germany where its cargo will be offloaded and eventually used to make high quality steel, Baffinland said.
“This is a great moment for Baffinland, its investors, and its employees, who have worked hard to reach this goal. In just two years, the men and women who work at the site, both Inuit or southern, have collaborated to build the mine and its infrastructure and have now moved the new port into full operation — this is their achievement and they can be proud of what they have accomplished,È Tom Paddon, Baffinland’s president and CEO said in a company statement on the first ore shipment. Read the rest of this entry »
“Inuit would rightfully feel like their voice does not matter”
Mining Watch Canada is urging the federal government to take the advice of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, which advised that a Nunavut uranium project should not move forward for now.
The mining watchdog group sent a July 28 letter to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt, asking him to uphold the NIRB’s decision on Areva Resources Canada’s Kiggavik mine proposal.
Mining Watch’s letter comes just weeks after Areva asked the federal government to reject the NIRB’s report, which recommends the proposed uranium project not go ahead because of the company’s lack of firm start date.
“It is entirely inappropriate for a proponent to propose a major mining project without any start date, let alone wait until after a review has concluded to bring forward vital arguments and information related to substantial community concerns,” said Ugo Lapointe, Canadian program co-ordinator at Mining Watch Canada, said in a news release. Read the rest of this entry »
Mining Stories Productions produces meaningful stories in a visual format about cultural, social and environmental issues that move individuals and audiences. Relying on solid research, we mine stories that speak to the human and planetary condition with passion and thoughtfulness, and with a view to engaging audiences through multi-media platforms. Our creative team is made up of award winning producers, directors, writers and technical talent who are committed to excellence and care deeply about the subjects and issues that inspire our stories.
Mining Stories Productions has produced a one hour documentary commissioned by Witness, , Al Jazeera English titled In This Heaven, with a broadcast version titled Rings of Fire. The broadcast will be launched on July 29, 2015 at 8pm/20:00 GMT.
In This Heaven/Rings of Fire, documents the tireless efforts of Mae Katt, a First Nations nurse practitioner who runs a mobile drug addiction treatment program in the remote underserved Matawa First Nations communities of Northern Ontario. Read the rest of this entry »
Opiate addiction and mining developments are threatening the future of Canada’s First Nations rural communities.
In the far north of Canada’s Ontario province, where opiate addiction afflicts the First Nation population, nurse practitioner Mae Katt runs a mobile drug treatment programme.
Her urgent mission is to set up effective programmes to treat this devastated population in the hopes that they will be able to shape their future, on their territory, and become the employment workforce backbone of the coming “Ring of Fire” mining operations.
It is a mammoth challenge, especially as up to 80 percent of the adult population of some communities negotiating the mining developments are addicted to opiates.
Gitxaala First Nation plans legal action against small operation, but environment ministry says risk to animals, humans minimal
The province has shut down the small Yellow Giant underground gold mine on Banks Island in northwest B.C. for spilling pollution on land and into creeks, lakes, and a wetland.
The B.C. environment ministry said the discharge reached the ocean through a creek, several beaver-dam-created wetlands and Banks Lake before entering the ocean at Surrey Bay, but it is not believed it will harm humans or animals.
The Yellow Giant incident is the latest of several mine waste spills — although much smaller in magnitude — since the catastrophic dam failure at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley gold and copper mine in August 2014. There have been small spills at the Myra Falls and Copper Mountain mines in the past year.
First Nations and conservationists are concerned about the effect of this latest spill on animals and aquatic life, including salmon, at the island located about 100 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. Read the rest of this entry »
As a member of the Shtax’heen Kwaan (Stikine Tribe) in Wrangell, I am frightened to think that what happened at Mount Polley could happen here in our back yard now that the Red Chris Mine is operational. That the fish we’ve relied on traditionally for thousands of years could be contaminated or disappear, that the local commercial fishing industry could be decimated, and that we could see the local businesses that rely on the industry close doors.
Neither the community of Wrangell or the Stikine Tribe were consulted in the years of planning and construction upstream. Tahltan Nation is receiving financial benefits, but the waste flows immediately out of their waters and into ours. If the tailings dams were to give way at Red Chris Mine, an entire community will be left to pick up the pieces of a puzzle that will never again be whole.
The Red Chris Mine is located on the Iskut River, the largest tributary in the Stikine headwaters. Red Chris is owned by Imperial Metals, the same company responsible for Mount Polley. Red Chris is a larger operation than its sister mine, and it has tailings that are much more toxic. Read the rest of this entry »
The UN Human Rights Committee is shaming Canada for its human rights record, which hasn’t improved much in the last decade.
On Thursday, the committee released its first review of Canada in 10 years — and the first ever under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The findings claim that the government has failed on a host of issues ranging from missing and murdered Aboriginal women, its treatment of refugees, to its overly broad anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51.
The seven-page report comes after more than 26 human rights organizations submitted their concerns about Canada and provided testimony in front of the 18-person committee in Geneva earlier this month. The committee calls on the federal government to launch a national inquiry into the missing and murdered women, while making note of “persisting inequalities between men and women” in Canada, and asking the government to consider overturning Bill C-51.
The report is quick to point out that Canada has failed to create a way for its recommendations to be carried out at all. “The Committee regrets the lack of an appropriate mechanism in the State party to implement views of the committee,” it says. Read the rest of this entry »
Not everyone is happy about a recently announced pan-Canadian task force on diesel fuels in remote communities.
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation says it’s been trying to deal with electricity issues in its communities for years, and wants separate negotiations with the Ontario government.
In a statement, NAN said some of its member First Nations want to accelerate their energy developments and can’t wait for the new process to get going. “It is NAN’s position … that the unique nature of our territory, demography and remoteness justify a separate negotiations table within the Ontario round-table or [pan-Canadian] task force as NAN First Nations,” the statement said.
“[The First Nations’] energy groups’ progress cannot be impeded by an all-Ontario or [pan-Canadian] approach.”
Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Yukon established the task force, which will prepare a report that examines efforts that have been, or are currently, underway to reduce diesel use in remote communities, among other things. Read the rest of this entry »