Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Editorial: Uncertainty on the horizon in the Yukon (Northern Miner – June 23, 2016)

VANCOUVER — The winds of legislative change out of Ottawa are shifting regulatory expectations for natural resource development across Canada, and the Yukon government is feeling the impact.

The Trudeau Liberals have expressed a desire to rejuvenate Canadians’ “trust in the regulatory process,” which so far has equated to an overt dedication to stomping out any remnants of the Harper Conservatives’ various attempts to streamline reviews for everything from pipelines to mining projects.

Trudeau is apparently big on “consultations,” and the federal government recently unveiled plans to “modernize” the regulatory process, which has begun with a widespread review that could impact the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Continue Reading →

Tension over transparency: Impact and benefit agreements with indigenous groups may soon see light of day – by Joel Barde (CIM Magazine – June/July 2016)

An Inuit land-claim organization released a full version of its impact and benefits agreement (IBA) with Baffinland Iron Mines for the Mary River project on May 20.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) – which had previously published a partial version upon signing the agreement in 2013 – said it wants to be transparent with its members, some 14,000 Inuit who live in the Baffin Region of Nunavut.

The full agreement provides a rare look at the financial underpinnings of a modern-day IBA between a miner and a Canadian indigenous group. Keeping IBAs private or partially redacted, however, may soon be a thing of the past. Continue Reading →

[Northern Superior Resources] Junior miner appeals duty to consult case – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 27, 2016)

It’s back to court for Northern Superior Resources. The Sudbury junior miner is heading to the Ontario Court of Appeal after its $25-million lawsuit against the Ontario government was dismissed by a Superior Court judge in late May.

After taking a few weeks to consult with his lawyer, company president-CEO Tom Morris claims Justice Thomas Lederer’s ruling overlooked many critical issues that forced his exploration firm to abandon their northwestern Ontario gold claims in 2011 due to a conflict with Sachigo Lake First Nation.

“Many of the important issues we brought to trial were simply ignored by the judge or sidestepped.” According to Morris, it’s tough to play by the Ontario government’s rules on the duty to consult with First Nation communities when there are no clear-cut rules to follow, even by today’s new standards. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp meets two First Nations to advance Borden Lake Mine Project – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – June 26, 2016)

Goldcorp, the largest gold miner in Ontario’s Northeast and a major world gold producing company, held a private meeting Thursday with the chiefs and band councils of the Chapleau Cree and Brunswick House First Nations to explain its applications to the Ontario and federal governments for permits to proceed to advance exploration stage.

Details of the meeting still have not emerged despite repeated calls by TimminsToday to Goldcorp Media Relations section in Vancouver and to the Band Offices of Chapleau Cree and Brunswick House First Nations.

Prior to the meeting, Donna Byce, manager of Corporate and Social Responsibility for Goldcorp’s Borden Lake Project, indicated it would be inappropriate to discuss the project prior to Goldcorp’s meeting with the chiefs and band councils. Continue Reading →

Fort McKay Chief Jim Boucher explores building the first aboriginal oilsands project: ‘Timing is right’ – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 27, 2016)

Under the guidance of Chief Jim Boucher over the last three decades, Alberta’s Fort McKay First Nation grew into an oilsands services powerhouse and one of Canada’s most enterprising aboriginal communities. The 800-member band located 65 kilometres north of Fort McMurray has zero unemployment, average household income of $120,000 a year, a $50 million trust fund and owns companies that generated $2.36 billion in revenue in the last five years.

Now it’s dusting off plans to develop its own oilsands project to take advantage of low construction costs in the region, the result of collapsing investment due to the oil-price downturn.

It’s far from a sure thing, as the Fort McKay could still decide to keep the 2.5 billion barrels of oil under their lands undeveloped until technologies evolve to minimize environmental impacts, but the option is being explored, Boucher said in an interview in Calgary. Continue Reading →

Finish line in sight for province’s first new potash mine in 40 years – by Bruce Johnstone (Regina Leader-Post – June 22, 2016)

More than 300 First Nations and Metis are working with contractors on
site and more than $300 million in contracts have been awarded to
companies owned or partnered with aboriginal enterprises.

NEAR BETHUNE – If building a potash mine was like a horse race, K+S’s Legacy project would be entering the home stretch. The $4.1-billion solution potash mine remains on time and on budget to begin production at the end of this year and full commercial production of two million tonnes per year by late 2017.

“We will produce the first tonnes of potash at the end of this year,” K+S Canada Potash president and CEO Ulrich Lamp told reporters Tuesday. “Then we will produce one million tonnes in 2017 and achieve our capacity of two million tonnes per year by the end of next year.’’

For Lamp, the project is the culmination of a long journey that began on a prairie field and a tent in 2012 when K+S first broke ground at the Legacy mine site, about 70 km northwest of Regina. Continue Reading →

Mining companies, northern communities renew uranium development partnership (Saskatoon StarPhoenex – June 22, 2016)

Seven northern communities have renewed their agreement with Cameco Corp. and Areva Resources Canada Inc. to support uranium mining operations in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.

“The renewed partnership agreement gives the Athabasca communities certainty, to help ensure that the companies operate sustainably, bringing positive changes for the future generation,” Diane McDonald, lead negotiator for the communities, said in a statement.

The Ya’Thi Néné agreement, which means “Land of the North” in Dene, builds on a previous deal struck in 1999. It confirms the support of Black Lake, Fond du Lac, Hatchet Lake, Stony Rapids, Wollaston Lake, Uranium City and Camsell Portage for the Cigar Lake, McLean Lake and now-shuttered Rabbit Lake uranium operations. Continue Reading →

First Nations deeply involved in resource development: Indian Resource Council – by Bob Weber (Global News – JUne 21, 2016)

The Canadian Press – Canada’s First Nations have a stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars in resource industry development and are likely to call more of the industry’s shots in the future, concludes a research paper.

“There is not going to be a very substantial expansion of the resource sector in Canada without full partnerships with indigenous Canadians,” said Ken Coates of the University of Saskatchewan.

Coates wrote the report for the Indian Resource Council, an aboriginal group that represents First Nations oil and gas producers. Coates notes that aboriginal opinion on new energy, pipeline and mineral projects reflects the same splits in the rest of Canada.  Continue Reading →

First Nations demands for access payments not legal: province – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – June 20, 2016)

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs says First Nations have no authority to demand access fees

Demands from First Nations for “access” payments from exploration companies are not legal, according to the B.C. government.

According to the Association of Mineral Exploration (AME), a number of junior exploration companies and their suppliers and contractors have been approached by First Nations demanding “access” payments for permitted exploration activities on Crown land. It has not identified the First Nations alleged to have been engaged in the practice.

“Unfortunately, these demands are often conveyed under a threat of inciting work interruptions if payments are not provided,” the AME states in a brief. “Many of these payment demands are not in support of any mutually beneficial quid pro quo business benefits, or potential capacity building arrangements or existing agreements between companies and First Nations.” Continue Reading →

Sudbury forum: Natural resources still king – by Debbie M. Nicholson (Sudbury Star – June 18, 2016)

Debbi M. Nicholson is president and CEO of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce network is celebrating resource champions across the nation. Chambers recognize that Canada’s future prosperity means creating the conditions for our natural resource sectors to succeed.

Greater Sudbury is home to the largest integrated mining complex in the world. Mining and mining supply and services is a key economic driver for our community and employs more than 14,000 people in Sudbury. The natural resource sector contributes greatly to the economic vitality of our community and this is why we decided to join the Resource Champions Initiative of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Canada’s chamber network – a group of 420 chambers from across the country representing every industrial sector – knows how important forest products and fisheries, miners and farmers, and energy producers of all stripes are to Canada’s economy. Continue Reading →

[De Beers and diamond mining] Eye-opening Attawapiskat documentary a labour of love for Ottawa filmmaker – by Evelyn Harford (Ottawa Citizen – June 17, 2016)

After The Last River – Official Trailer from Victoria Lean on Vimeo.

Nearly eight years ago, Ottawa-raised documentary filmmaker, Vicki Lean, immersed herself into the Attawapiskat First Nation. Three states of emergency later, she came away with a documentary film that exposes the reality of living down stream from an open-pit diamond mine.

After the Last River, which begins a three-day run at the ByTowne Cinema Sunday, delves headfirst into what mineral extraction from the De Beers Victor diamond mine has meant for Attawapiskat. The eye-opening documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the complex issues that underpin systemic poverty and crisis in the remote northern community, situated on the edge of James Bay. Continue Reading →

Octoberfest for Lawyers: Prospecting in Ontario’s Far North – by Bill Gallagher (Sudbury Star – June 17, 2016)

Bill Gallagher, lawyer, author and strategist.

The last six months saw Ontario courts issue two major rulings on accessing resources. Junior miners operating in the Far North have not had an easy time, mainly due to not keeping abreast of the rise of native empowerment nationally and how that dynamic impacts (or should impact) their approach to accessing traditional lands. That’s because natives have land rights writ large.

I track this phenomenon right across the country and have maintained a special interest in Ontario ever since I was kicked-off the KI reserve by the entire community; turned out to greet Platinex’s CEO and his archeologist. I personally witnessed the resulting litigation or public gyrations of all the juniors: Platinex, God’s Lake Resources, Solid Gold (and indeed Cliffs); attended many pivotal events like the roll-out of Matawa’s Ring of Fire policy, keynoted at PDAC’s grand opening, lectured at Lakehead, and attended closing arguments in the Northern Superior litigation.

My trump card was my strategic role in helping to bring-in the Voisey’s Bay IBA (although that precedent was never treated as relevant by the juniors) caught as they were in the throes of Queen’s Park and Mining Act turmoil – and the thrall of litigation lawyers. Continue Reading →

Province wins exploration duty to consult case – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 16, 2016)

Score one for Ontario. A mining strategist said the Ontario government won an impressive victory in its court case against a Sudbury exploration company that sued the province for breach of its duty to consult with a northwestern Ontario First Nation band.

Waterloo-based natural resources consultant Bill Gallagher considers the May 25 ruling in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice a landmark decision, not just for Ontario but across Canada. “It is the most important ruling in terms of getting this country up and running in the mining sector on the duty to consult.”

He’s also called it an indirect legal win for First Nations even though they were not a party to the lawsuit. The trial, which took place last October, wrapped up on May 25 when Justice Thomas Lederer dismissed the company’s claim against the Ontario government. Continue Reading →

Resource rulers: Canada’s First Nations hold all the cards on the road to resource development going forward – by Bill Gallagher (Corporate Knights – June 14, 2016)

Canada’s new government has lowered the boom on resource extraction approvals that don’t meet federal expectations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. So who wants to be the next batter up in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export sweepstakes – the first to test Ottawa’s resolve on meeting one of the Trudeau government’s primary election pledges?

It may come as a surprise to learn that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has already approved a west coast LNG export project as one of her first executive decisions, notably doing so one week before subjecting another LNG export project to further intense regulatory scrutiny.

Woodfibre LNG, owned by Pacific Oil & Gas and sited at Squamish, British Columbia, is the approved project. It then immediately awarded a major engineering contract, thus setting itself ahead of the pack as competing projects tumbled back to the regulatory blender to face the attendant uncertainty and delay. Continue Reading →

Canada must invest more in its Indigenous people: OECD report – by Levon Sevunts (Radio Canada – June 13, 2016)

The new Liberal government ought to continue sharing more of the fruits of Canada’s growth with the country’s Indigenous population, says a new report presented today at the opening of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas Conference of Montreal.

The latest Economic Survey of Canada prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was presented by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau at the three-day conference attended by dozens of leading politicians, civil society representatives and business figures from Canada and across the globe.

Canada should be improving outcomes for its Aboriginal Peoples through providing more resources for their education, training, health care, housing, entrepreneurship and environmental infrastructure servicing their communities, says one of the key recommendations of the survey. Continue Reading →