Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Never mind geologists; how sharp are your lawyers? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – May 3, 2016)

Having a good geologist is key to the success of any mining or exploration company. But in a world of constantly evolving laws governing mineral extraction, indigenous rights and environment, having a good lawyer might be just as important.

If McCarthy Tétrault’s latest report on Mining in the Courts is any indication, Canadian mining and exploration companies might need a whole team of lawyers just to stay on top of some of the legal precedents set in 2015 and new regulations that are coming into play.

From Canada’s commitment to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to hefty new fines in place in B.C. to back up rules governing management of tailings ponds, B.C.’s mining and exploration sectors have a lot to digest if they don’t want to run afoul of the law at home or abroad. Continue Reading →

[Northwest Ontario First Nations] Looking for new power – by Jeff Labine and Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – May 3, 2016)

A new energy conference is pairing up First Nations communities with companies that could provide solutions to power problems.

Marten Falls First Nation Chief Bruce Achneepineskum attended the first Matawa First Nations energy conference in Thunder Bay on Monday in order to learn more about different trends in providing power. Many First Nation communities including Marten Falls aren’t connected to any electrical grids and rely on other forms of power like diesel fuel to provide electricity.

The continued use of expensive and unreliable diesel-fired generators to produce electricity on remote aboriginal reserves isn’t jut bad for air-quality, says Matawa First Nations. The Thunder Bay-based agency says a lack of clean reliable power sources severely limits the ability of bands located in Ontario’s far north to plan and develop economic projects. Continue Reading →

Mining company, school partner for Nunavut trades training – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – May 2, 2016)

Uluadluak is only 18, but she just finished making a purple-and-black parka for a friend. The Baker Lake high school student also crochets, thanks to her mom’s fine instruction. But last week, she was a hairdresser.

“I like fixing people’s hair,” said the Grade 11 student, originally from Arviat. “My favourite part was learning how to braid. I learned two kinds of braids, a French braid and an African braid.”

Uluadluak was one of 70 Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School students from Grades 10 to 12 to participate April 25 to April 29 in TASK, or the Trades Awareness and Skills Knowledge week. Now in its third year, the program gives kids a break from math and science for a week to experience what it would be like to work in a trade when they get older. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Time for Taseko to do the right thing – by Joe Alphonse and Bernie Mack (Vancouver Sun – May 2, 2016)

Chief Joe Alphonse is Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government. Chief Bernie Mack is Chief of the Esdilagh First Nation.

The Information Circular released by Taseko Mines Ltd. (TML) on March 31st states, “Taseko has a very successful relationship with First Nations at Gibraltar”. We respectfully and strongly disagree with this statement and we need to set the record straight so shareholders are fully informed about TML management’s record in dealing with the Tsilhqot’in Nation. We can only describe this record as disrespectful.

TML has operated the 44-year old Gibraltar Mine — Canada’s second largest open pit copper mine — since 1999. Esdilagh, a member of Tsilhqot’in Nation, is the closest Aboriginal community to Gibraltar Mine; its reserve lands almost directly adjoin the mine site.

For years, the Tsilhqot’in Nation and Esdilagh have urged the management of TML to enter into a meaningful Impact Benefit Agreement with Esdilagh, so there is a share in the benefits from the mining operation and not just the decades of negative impacts. Continue Reading →

Rio pushes button on $2.6b bauxite project – Kim Christian (Sydney Morning Herald – November 27, 2015)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has given the nod to its massive $US1.9 billion ($A2.63 billion) South of Embley bauxite expansion project in northern Queensland. Rio said the long-awaited approval would boost the company’s annual bauxite exports from Cape York by around 10 million tonnes per year as conditions in aluminium markets improve.

The global miner plans to initially produce 22.8 million tonnes of bauxite per year from 2019, replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine 40 kilometres away. The project gives Rio the option of expanding production to 50 million tonnes a year in the future.

Rio has also changed the name of the mine to the Aboriginal word Amrun, a traditional indigenous name for the area. The expansion project involves construction of a bauxite mine as well as processing and port facilities on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula. Continue Reading →

First Nations must pursue own interests in resource projects – by Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – April 30, 2016)

Back in the 1970s and ’80s there was opposition to developing uranium mines
in Northern Saskatchewan. Our people were used as an ally by the opponents,
but in the end the mines were developed. Northern people expressed their
concerns for the environment, but they also saw the value of employment
and business opportunities.

The uranium industry became an economic engine, creating jobs and contract
opportunities for our people. Today there are indigenous companies that
provide camp catering, trucking, security and other spinoff services.

Pipeline building is once again in the news, and the pros and the cons are lining up. Our people once again are somewhere in the middle, seen either as an ally or an impediment.

First Nations have been left out of resource development instead of being treated as stakeholders. The same people who ignore our potential also are the ones to complain about indigenous poverty and suggest that we move away from traditional communities. Meanwhile, the environmentalists and anti-developers co-opt our people as allies in order to justify their cause. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Roads to First Nations working in other areas (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 30, 2016)

Current economic, social, education and health stats paint a bleak picture of Canada’s First Nation communities. This is particularly true of the so called fly-in First Nations located in Northern Ontario beyond surface road or rail access.

These communities have existed for centuries and once were self sufficient thanks to trapping and fishing. Today most fly-in First Nations are dependent on financial assistance provided by senior government.

Picture a situation where you live in a remote reserve linked only to the outside world by expensive air service of dubious merit; that you are governed by a distant oblivious ruler (Ottawa and Queen’s Park), and that you exist on government hand-outs which, if you decide to quit the reserve, you will lose. Continue Reading →

Despite the risk, western Nunavut communities want gold mine jobs – Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – May 2, 2016)

“I want our younger generation to have jobs”

CAMBRIDGE BAY — Jobs take precedence over the health of caribou herds, Kitikmeot community representatives said at the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final hearing on Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.‘s Back River gold project.

When representatives of communities in western Nunavut spoke April 30, after more than 20 hours of roundtable presentations and discussions in Cambridge Bay, it was clear that dreams for a better economic future won over the fear of environmental damage.

“I want our younger generation to have jobs,” said Barnabe Immingark of Kugaaruk, who reported on his community’s support for the mine. “I heard a vision of the future. It made me think about the delicate balance of nature and that everyone can have an influence on the environment. Continue Reading →

[Ring of Fire] Gov’ts keep in touch: Wynne – by Brent Linton (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – May 2, 2016)

Ontario and federal cabinet ministers keep in touch regularly on important projects including the Ring of Fire, claims Kathleen Wynne.

Ontario’s premier paid a visit to Thunder Bay last week and spoke about the massive chromite project in the lower James Bay area known as the Ring of Fire.

She made it clear that communication with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet is much better than under the former Conservative government.

“Unlike the previous government, we actually have regular conversations between ministers about these files,” Wynne said. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire bigger vision than fast as possible: Wynne –by Matt Vis ( – April 29, 2016)

THUNDER BAY – Kathleen Wynne views the Ring of Fire as more than just an economic development opportunity.

The Ontario premier was asked about the province’s progress in developing the potentially lucrative mineral deposit in the remote north during her media availability in Thunder Bay on Thursday.

Wynne responded that her government is dedicated to acting in an environmentally responsible manner while engaging and consulting with First Nations communities to ensure their children will experience the resulting economic prosperity.

“That’s a bigger vision than just how do we, as fast as possible, get trucks in to get those minerals out, get them out and then leave the site,” Wynne said. Continue Reading →

Ontario First Nations plan power line to help remote communities get off diesel – by Jody Porter (CBC News thunder Bay – April 27, 2016)

Wataynikaneyap Power project would connect 16 First Nations to Ontario’s electricity grid

The plan to extend Ontario’s electricity lines to the remote northern parts of the province takes another step forward this month as consultation meetings are underway in more than a dozen First Nations.

Twenty First Nations are the majority owners of Wataynikaneyap Power — 16 of them currently rely on costly and hazardous diesel generated electricity. That role puts the First Nations-led company in the unique position of conducting consultations with communities that are also its owners.

“I think it will help with the community because our diesel generator is not very reliable at times,” said Donald Campbell, deputy chief at North Spirit Lake, who is also a board member with Wataynikaneyap. Continue Reading →

Diesel-generated electricity costly for envrionment, economy, Ontario First Nations say  (CBC News thunder Bay – April 27, 2016)

First Nations planning to extend Ontario’s power grid hundreds of kilometres into the province’s remote north say getting their communities off diesel generators could save millions of dollars.

In May, the Ontario government is expected to designate the transmission line extension as a priority project, and the First Nations-led Wataynikaneyap Power hopes to be selected as the company to build it.

Meanwhile, 25 First Nations in the province remain reliant on diesel generators to provide electricity to their growing communities. Residents say it’s a dirty, unreliable and expensive way to create power.

Here are some of the costs of that diesel power in one First Nation, by the numbers: Continue Reading →

[New Gold Rainy River Mine] Aboriginal firm takes charge of camp security – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 26, 2016)

The construction of New Gold’s Rainy River Mine is proving to be a huge economic boon in business spinoffs for the entire Rainy River district. But as with all mineral developments, it has a finite mine life – 14 years at last count

Training and building businesses for today and tomorrow is on the collective minds of three northwestern Ontario First Nation bands. And one Aboriginally owned business venture is offering safety and security in more ways than one.

Synterra Security Solutions LP is a joint venture partnership launched in 2011 between Canadian Securities Management (CSM) and the First Nation communities of Wunnumin Lake, Kingfisher Lake and Naicatchewenin. Continue Reading →

Help for isolated Ontario First Nation comes from Manitoba – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 26, 2016)

A plan is finally in motion to build a long-overdue 25-kilometre access road to an isolated and neglected northwestern Ontario First Nation community straddling the Ontario-Manitoba border.

Prior to the Manitoba government recessing for a provincial election in April, the East Side Road Authority was given political approval to expand beyond its borders and take on the so-called Freedom Road project for Shoal Lake 40.

The island community has received national attention for its forced isolation and enduring a boil water advisory for close to 20 years. The previous Harper government refused to allocate funding to the project, but the Trudeau government has pledged their commitment to finally connect the community to the outside world. Continue Reading →

Big Bear, meet Attawapiskat – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – April 27, 2016)

Everyone has ideas about what to do with the miserable and desperate people in Attawapiskat, back in the news again this month due to a horrifying epidemic of kids choosing suicide. Jean Chrétien’s received some support for his blunt message that residents would be better off abandoning the reserve and settling somewhere less desolate.

“People have to move sometimes,” he said. “It’s desirable to stay if they want to stay but it’s not always possible” when there’s no sufficient economic base. The NDP’s Niki Ashton ripped that idea, calling it an “assimilationist view” rooted in the perennially colonialist thinking of non-aboriginals.

Other, less hopeless First Nations have opinions, too, about the Northern Ontario town. “We’re not bison. We shouldn’t be herded around on the whims of a racist nation,” said Stewart Phillip, a First Nations leader from B.C. where, let’s be frank, the circumstances of First Nations are not much like Northern Ontario. Continue Reading →