Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Critics, officials disturbed as Taseko mine plans to conduct test drilling – by Mark Hume (Globe and Mail – July 27, 2016)

VANCOUVER – A proposed $1.5-billion mine that has twice been rejected by Ottawa because of environmental concerns appears to have been given new life, much to the dismay of First Nations and other critics.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which has been fighting to stop the Taseko Mines Ltd. proposal for years, said it is alarmed the company plans to conduct test drilling for the New Prosperity gold and copper mine.

“It is unbelievable and unacceptable that [Taseko] continues to waste everyone’s time, energy, money and goodwill,” the Tsilhqot’in stated. “The project cannot proceed in the face of the federal government rejection.” Continue Reading →

Nunavut hunters pleased but not surprised that feds rejected Areva’s uranium mine – by Sima Sahar Zerehi (CBC News North – July 27, 2016)

Feds said no to Areva’s Kiggavik uranium mine, backing Nunavut Impact Review Board

The Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization says it’s pleased but not surprised by the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’s decision to back the Nunavut Impact Review Board and reject Areva’s Kiggavik uranium mine. “We are pleased with the minister’s decision but not surprised,” said Joan Scottie, the HTO’s manager on behalf of chair Jamie Seekeenak.

The review board’s final report on the proposed mine near Baker Lake in the spring of 2015 rejected Areva Resources proposed Kiggavik mine on grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the mine.

In her July 14 letter, Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, echoed the decision made by the review board. Continue Reading →

Development without Indigenous input illegal, says Rae – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – July 21, 2016)

The need to consult Indigenous people before development takes place is not a conceit of a particular political party or the whim of the current government, said former parliamentarian Bob Rae. It’s the law, he said, and municipalities would be wise to heed that notion so progress can move forward.

“The idea that you can develop the next big development in Northern Canada or Northern Ontario without the full participation of the First Nations is not only a fanciful idea, it’s also an illegal idea,” Rae said. “There’s no getting around it. I think it’s really important for all of us to take a deep breath and understand that is the case.”

Speaking to municipal representatives during the May Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference in Timmins, Rae drew on his experience in politics and law, and especially his current role as Ring of Fire advisor to the Matawa Chiefs Council, to speak about emerging relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

First Nations contractor digs into gold project – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 21, 2016)

A First Nation-owned construction company is cutting its teeth on a new gold mine project under development in northwestern Ontario.

Onikaajigan Construction Limited Partnership is running a 600-man camp for the construction workforce that’s building New Gold’s Rainy River open-pit gold mine, 65 kilometres northwest of Fort Frances.

It’s a temporary work camp at this point, said Onikaajigan’s general partner, Dean Bethune, with the eventual aim of transitioning it into a slightly smaller version since New Gold hopes to source most of its permanent mining workforce of 600 locally instead of flying them in. Continue Reading →

US, Navajos settle over uranium mine cleanup – by Susan Montoya Bryan ( – July 20, 2016)

The Associated Press – ALBUQUERQUE — The federal government has reached another settlement with the Navajo Nation that will clear the way for cleanup work to continue at abandoned uranium mines across the largest American Indian reservation in the U.S.

The target includes 46 sites that have been identified as priorities due to radiation levels, their proximity to people and the threat of contamination spreading.

Cleanup is supposed to be done at 16 abandoned mines while evaluations are planned for another 30 sites. Studies will be done at two more to see if water supplies have been compromised. The agreement announced by the U.S. Justice Department settles the tribe’s claims over the costs of engineering evaluations and cleanups at the mines. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: The Canadian Resources Sector: A Goldmine for Employment Opportunities

Ottawa, July 19, 2016—Despite recent difficulties in the resource sector, the long-term economic outlook for the industry is generally positive and employment opportunities are expected to continue to grow.

A new Conference Board of Canada report estimates about $342 billion of new investment in major resource projects in Canada over the next decade and expects over 65,000 jobs openings in the resource sector. However, the majority of the job openings will come from the retirement of workers—more so than the expansion of the sector.

“The commodity market is highly cyclical and conditions are expected to improve,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “The sector will continue to be an important part of Canada’s economy and provide well-paying jobs for a great number of Canadians.” Continue Reading →

On the hunt for minerals: Amateur prospecting in Nunavut – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – July 19, 2016)

“I think it’s possible to do both: we can keep our animals and we can do some mining out there”

John Tugak is a well-known local musician in Arviat, so he’s busy during the summer wedding season. But he asks friends and family to please not get married on the weekend. Tugak, a 40-year-old father of five, spends most of his free time on the land hunting not just for animals, but for minerals too.

“As a prospector, learning as I go along, it’s kinda confusing but it’s worth venturing into because you have families to support and hopefully you create jobs for your community and other communities,” said Tugak.

“I just hope to do something I like to do: reading, learning, going out on the land.” Tugak is one of more than 1,000 Nunavummiut who have taken prospecting courses since the Government of Nunavut first started offering them in 2001. Continue Reading →

First Nations hear hard truth that UN indigenous rights declaration is ‘unworkable’ as law – by John Ivison (National Post – July 15, 2016)

It’s been the prettiest love story in recent Canadian political history — the romancing of the Assembly of First Nations by the Liberal government. But there are early signs that the relationship between the star-crossed lovers could be fraying.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, spoke at the AFN’s general assembly in Niagara Falls Wednesday, where she dropped the bombshell that adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as Canadian law is “unworkable.”

She went further. “Respectfully, it is a political distraction to undertaking the hard work required to actually implement it,” she said. This will have come as news to Perry Bellegarde, the AFN’s national chief, who celebrated the Trudeau government’s “unqualified support” for UNDRIP as a historic day on the path to reconciliation. Continue Reading →

Peregrine Diamonds needs a $95M all-weather road – by Jane Sponagle (CBC News North – July 13, 2016)

‘The road in is a critical piece of infrastructure’

A diamond company working on Baffin Island says it could spend 10 years extracting roughly $2.5 billion in net revenue — but first it needs to build a $95 million all-weather road to Iqaluit.

Peregrine Diamonds president and chief executive officer Tom Peregoodoff held a conference call with stakeholders Tuesday to talk about the two kimberlite pipes that make up phase one of the Chidliak diamond project, 120 km northeast of Iqaluit. Peregrine has been exploring at Chidliak since 2005.

But to get the project up and running, the company needs to build a 160 km all-season road from Iqaluit to the site. “The road in is a critical piece of infrastructure and we need that prior to commencement of construction to minimize our construction capital costs,” said Peregoodoff. Continue Reading →

Northern Gateway ruling puts future pipeline consultations to the test – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – July 13, 2016)

CALGARY — Ottawa’s haste to get an oil pipeline to the Pacific built ended up being a project’s undoing. The federal Court of Appeal’s quashing of the Northern Gateway pipeline’s approval exposed the slipshod approach the former Conservative government took with rules of consultation with First Nations.

Now, for the Liberals and the energy sector, there are lingering risks for future pipelines and other resource projects that go beyond what the court used to strike down the Northern Gateway decision.

They boil down to a fundamental question – what must consultation achieve? Yes, aboriginal groups have rights to be informed and accommodated, but it remains to be seen how much power an opponent who refuses to be swayed ultimately has over a project’s go or no-go ruling. Continue Reading →

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 →