NESKANTAGA, ON, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ – The grand opening of the Neskantaga Training Centre was celebrated today in Neskantaga Territory, Ontario, showcasing the new innovative facility and collaboration technology which delivers training directly to the remote community.
The Neskantaga Training Centre is a multi-purpose facility with construction components designed to be flown into remote communities and assembled on-site. The centre is outfitted with state of the art technology, including Cisco TelePresence, high-definition two-way video communication and collaboration technology, a 70-inch Smart Board, a 70-inch LED HDTV, high-speed satellite broadband connectivity, as well as individual laptops. The centre directly connects to e-learning tools and programs to offer a wide variety of curriculum including access to secondary and post-secondary institutions, safety training courses, trades and technical certifications. To see the Neskantaga Training Centre in action, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASjo4mFVOdQ&feature=youtu.be.
“The partnerships formed to build this facility, along with all of the hard work, have culminated in a facility that will have a positive impact on the people of Neskantaga for many years to come,” said Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation during the opening ceremonies. Read the rest of this entry »
THE CANADIAN PRESS – CHASE, B.C. — A British Columbia First Nation plans to issue an eviction notice to Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III) — the company behind a massive tailings pond breach at a gold and copper mine last week — over a separate project in the band’s territory.
The declaration from the Neskonlith Indian Band is the latest sign that last week’s tailings spill at the Mount Polley Mine in central B.C. could ripple across the company’s other projects and possibly the province’s entire mining industry.
The Neskonlith band said the notice, which its chief planned to hand-deliver to Imperial Metals in Vancouver on Thursday, orders the company to stay away from the site of its proposed Ruddock Creek zinc and lead mine, which is located about 150 kilometres northeast of Kamloops.
The mine, which is still in the development phase and has yet to go through the environmental assessment process, would be located near the headwaters of the Adams River, home of an important sockeye salmon run. The Neskonlith band opposed the mine long before the Mount Polley tailings spill.
“We do not want the mine developing or operating in that sacred headwaters,” Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson said in an interview Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
(WABIGOON, ON – August 11, 2014) The Ontario Coalition of Aboriginal People (OCAP) is strongly opposed to the plan of Treasury Metals’ Goliath Gold Project to discharge effluent into Blackwater Creek or pipe it directly to Wabigoon Lake through a submerged diffuser. The recent catastrophic spill of wastewater and tailings waste in British Columbia is a warning to everyone in this region of the importance of protecting Wabigoon Lake.
It has come as a surprise to many people in the Dryden region that Treasury Metals plans to submit their environmental impact study and that they don’t see any red flags concerning the project. These facts contrast strongly with the concerns about the health and environment from Aboriginal Peoples and others living in the region.
“Wabigoon Lake is of great importance to Aboriginal Peoples in this region and the name itself is Ojibwe for ‘flower’. The pristine waters of the lake are a major attraction for recreational boaters and anglers and this generates significant economic benefits. Allowing metal mining corporations to use our lake as a dump for their wastewater and tailings is a pollution risk that we should not be taking,” said Brad Maggrah, OCAP President.
The concerns and issues of Aboriginal Peoples about federal and provincial environmental policies, which allow mining companies to destroy lakes and waters with toxic tailings, have fallen on deaf ears. Aboriginal Peoples have a deep respect and spiritual connection to lands and waters, and the pollution of our freshwater lakes is of great concern. Read the rest of this entry »
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Seven Generations Education Institute is seeking to create a home grown workforce to position Aboriginal people in northwestern Ontario to take advantage of coming opportunities in the mining sector.
The Aboriginally run Treaty 3 organization, established in 1978, was the recipient of $5.2 million in federal funding last spring to provide training and real world experience to First Nation, Inuit and Métis participants.
The one-time grant funding will be spread out over 15 months. The money, which arrived last April through Ottawa’s Skills and Partnership Fund, is aimed at skill development of new workers coming into the mining sector and placing them in a position to fill vital support roles as development begins to unfold in the region.
“The goal is not to create miners,” said Brenda Cameron, project coordinator of the Mining Workforce Preparation Program for Seven Generations. “It’s to create a trained Aboriginal workforce where people can secure a job somewhere in the mining industry.
“You need people to staff the offices, build the mines, tradespeople, electricians, first responders and line cooks.” Those skills are also transferrable to other sectors as well. Read the rest of this entry »
But First Nations, residents and environmentalists have ongoing concerns
B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett says the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse is not an environmental disaster, equating it to the “thousands” of avalanches that happen annually in B.C. Bennett, pointing to initial positive water readings, asserted his contention will be proven in the next several weeks.
Central B.C. First Nations, some area residents and Williams Lake mayor Kerry Cook have described the collapse of the dam as an “environmental disaster.”
The Aug. 4 collapse of a 300-metre section of the gravel and earth dam spewed 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of finely ground up rock containing potentially toxic metals into Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.
While the water readings in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River have been positive, some residents, First Nations and environmentalists have raised concerns over the long-term effects of the sludge that poured into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake. It will also take longer to determine the environmental effects of the spill, including on salmon, they say.
Bennett acknowledged the dam collapse may be a mining industry, a geotechnical and a political disaster. But he said that has to be separated from the environmental effects. Read the rest of this entry »
Aboriginal and environmental groups seek independent testing of lakes, rivers
First Nations whose traditional territories have been spoiled by the Mount Polley tailings pond failure are seeking independent reviews of environmental testing already underway.
“We are going to be looking at getting independent scientists and people to help us determine whether if the disaster is as benign as they say, said Bev Sellars, Chief of the Xatsull First Nation, or Soda Creek Indian Band. “We don’t believe it is.”
The Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band is taking also exception to the controlled release of water in Polley Lake into Hazeltine Creek. The runoff was approved after tests confirmed water quality close to historically safe levels.
“I don’t know that anybody knows the safety of the water testing that they’re doing right now is surface,” said Chief Ann Louie. “What about the sediments? I keep saying the plug that’s sitting in front of Polley Lake is huge.” Read the rest of this entry »
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in the Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia case (2014 SCC 44). The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the British Columbia trial judge’s findings on Aboriginal title and granted Aboriginal title to 2% of the Tsilhqot’in Nation traditional territory. This is the first decision in Canada granting Aboriginal title.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation commenced an action in British Columbia claiming, among other things, Aboriginal title to a large tract of land representing approximately 5% of its traditional territory. The Tsilhqot’in Nation was a semi-nomadic Aboriginal grouping of six bands which shared a common culture and history. The people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation lived in mountain villages. Within their traditional territory they hunted, trapped and collected roots and herbs. Approximately 200 Tsilhqot’in Nation members still live in the area.
After 339 days of trial over five years, and having heard voluminous evidence from Tsilhqot’in Nation elders, historians and other experts, the trial judge found that Aboriginal title was proven for 190,000 hectares. The trial judge ruled, however, that because the action was pleaded as an “all or nothing” proposition and Aboriginal title was not established over the entire claim area, the court could not make a declaration of Aboriginal title.
The British Court of Appeal overruled the trial judge by finding that the action was pleaded sufficiently to permit the court to declare Aboriginal title to less than the full area claimed. Unlike the trial judge, however, the appeal court found that Aboriginal title had not been established. The Supreme Court of Canada disagreed. Read the rest of this entry »
When Reneya Lemaigre arrived last year at the inaugural Mining Matters Mining Rocks Earth Sciences Camp she didn’t know anyone and didn’t know what to expect.
But it didn’t take long for the teenager from Clearwater River Dene Nation to shrug off her fears and have a great time at Christopher Lake’s The Quest camp.
“The staff were really nice and comforted me,” Reneya said. “After the first day I was fine for the rest of the week.” “She started meeting new friends and when the day came for her to go home, she didn’t want to go,” added her mother, Rana Janvier.
The pair are once again making the six-hour drive this weekend from Clearwater River to Christopher Lake to attend the mining camp that will have about 30 teens attend this year.
The camp is put on with the sponsorship of six junior mining companies – Foran Mining Corp., Masuparia Gold Corp., NexGen Energy Inc., Alpha Exploration Inc., Fission Uranium Corp. and North Arrow Minerals – and PDAC Mining Matters. “The program is expanding,” said Barbara Green Parker, PDAC’s manager of Aboriginal Education and Outreach Programs.
They had 18 kids attend last year and expect about 30 this year – from Amisk (Denare Beach), Pelican Narrows, Buffalo Narrows, Clearwater River Dene Nation and Deschambault. Read the rest of this entry »
WHAT a difference a year makes. In 2013, Northwestern Ontario communities were giddy at the prospect of getting in on the tremendous economic opportunities connected to the Ring of Fire mining belt. Thunder Bay and Sudbury were fiercely competing to be the site of a processing facility while Greenstone and other centres were pitching themselves as logical transportation hubs.
Then the big player walked away. For a variety of reasons — provincial indecision, First Nations objections, competitors’ alternatives, falling commodity and stock prices — Cliffs Natural Resources ended its substantial exploration activities. A coup of sorts among shareholders put in place a new CEO who agreed to return Cliffs’ attention to its iron ore business which Thunder Bay area residents can see when they drive through northern Minnesota.
While Cliffs hasn’t abandoned its stake in the Ring’s massive chromite deposit other companies that remain active in the region are now getting all the attention.
Noront Resources has its eye on the region’s rich nickel deposits and has promoted an east-west transportation route linking mine sites with the CN main line and running past several First Nations which would stand to enjoy direct employment opportunities along with economic partnerships. Read the rest of this entry »
This year’s science and environment workshops at the Nibinamik Youth Retreat were part of the training for the RoFATA Environmental Monitoring Training Program.
“(The youth) really enjoyed it,” said Harry Bunting, a Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) environmental monitoring student from Constance Lake. “They learned quite a bit actually, and so did I. I was able to do some sampling of fish, learned how to age a fish and what to do when you are sampling and doing your protocols to help assess the water quality and assess the environment itself.”
The Environmental Monitoring Training Program is being delivered by Four Rivers Matawa Environmental Services Group at the Matawa First Nations building in Thunder Bay.
“As part of the training program, students are assigned to real community based projects or initiatives so that they can learn to do the work by actually doing it,” said Sarah Cockerton, manager of environmental programs at Four Rivers, in an e-mail. “This year, the environmental monitoring students organized, prepared and delivered the science/environmental workshops to the youth in addition to planning and organizing a lot of the logistics to the trip itself.”
The Four Rivers staff and the environmental monitoring students travelled to Nibinamik on July 14 for the youth retreat and returned on July 18. Soon after arriving back in Thunder Bay, the environmental monitoring students were back in class. Read the rest of this entry »
The Globe and Mailis Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
VANCOUVER — The exact effect of the Mount Polley spill on B.C. salmon is not yet known, but with the sockeye just entering the Fraser River – and more than one million fish heading directly for the region hit by the mining waste – First Nations and conservation groups are fearing the worst.
Concern about the sockeye’s survival and whether the fish is safe to eat has emerged as another front in the resource battle between First Nations and governments, with aboriginal leaders charging the mining industry has lacked oversight, and questioning the point of the right to fish when the salmon is contaminated.
Bev Sellars, chief of the Soda Creek Indian Band, likened the area touched by the spill to a spiderweb. “When you disturb one part of the spiderweb, it affects all of it. That’s how this mine is going to affect everything,” she said in an interview Wednesday.
Ms. Sellars said test results and data have not yet come in, but the spill will certainly lead to some dead fish. “How could there not be?” she asked. She said members of her community have already seen dead salmon.
Approximately 1.5 million sockeye had been expected to head to the Quesnel region this year. About 20 per cent are believed to have already entered the Fraser River as part of their journey, with the rest expected to begin the trek north by the end of the month. Read the rest of this entry »
A mining industry observer says a recent court ruling will do nothing to spur development in the Ring of Fire. A divisional court ruled last week that Cliffs Natural Resources may apply to the province to build a road over KWG Resources’ land. KWG had been withholding its consent.
Cliffs has said it wants to build a road to transport ore from the Ring of Fire in the Northwest. In an interview last week, Cliffs vice-president Bill Boor said the decision was reason for optimism for Sudburians.
The company has floated the idea of a chromite smelter in Capreol. But the head of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association said Cliffs still has to satisfy the minister, negotiate with Aboriginal groups and complete environmental assessments.
“If it’s a good step, I’m not sure for whom,” Dick Destefano said. “But it seems to open up another avenue for discussion — which means another delay and another discussion, and another study.”
He noted there are so many variables that the opportunities around the project could easily vanish. “This is like the Wizard of Oz for me,” Dick Destefano said. Read the rest of this entry »
FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION, Ont. — First Nations need to become more assertive in looking at ways to generate sustainable and independent economies, says the Nishnawbe Aski Nation grand chief.
That will be a primary focus of the 33rd Keewaywin Conference, which is being held on the Mount McKay Lookout, Harvey Yesno said in an interview shortly after the grand entry to kick off the gathering.
“We’re looking at the whole of the region and I think we need to partner with both senior levels of government to really address the infrastructure that will stimulate and foster investment,” Yesno said Tuesday.
“We’re looking not just at job creation but wealth creation and getting involved with some of these business enterprises.” Creating favourable economic conditions will play a significant role in solving challenges such as housing shortages and high unemployment rates, he added.
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy echoed those views and said communities, many of which have an abundance of potential assets, need to become their own economic drivers. Treaty agreements put the responsibility on First Nations to financially prosper, he said.
First Nations groups say they have claim to territory where the company is conducting mining operations
Two Innu First Nations groups in Quebec are claiming rights over lands in Labrador where the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) has already concluded an agreement with Labrador’s Innu Nation.
The Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John Innu First Nations in Quebec are objecting to IOC’s claims that the company has settled aboriginal issues regarding IOC’s projects on an area they say is their traditional territory. The groups are calling on the IOC to come to an agreement with them as well.
The request comes shortly after IOC signed an agreement with the Labrador Innu Nation, which the groups consider, “a curious development,” considering the fact their groups have rights to the area.
“We have never ceded nor otherwise lost our rights to our traditional territory, our Nitassinan, which territory we have possessed, occupied and administered since time immemorial,” Matimekush-Lac John Chief Réal Mckenzie stated in a news release issued Friday.
“Governments and the mining industry allow other aboriginal groups with no legitimate claim to our territory to encroach on our lands at our expense. We can no longer tolerate such an attitude which aims to capture our resources and the benefits which derive from them.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Globe and Mailis Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press – The British Columbia government has granted environmental approval for a proposed $5.3-billion mine in the province’s north, which would tap into one of the largest gold and copper deposits in the world and has already received support from local First Nations.
The provincial environment and mines ministers issued an environmental assessment certificate Wednesday to Seabridge Gold Inc. for the company’s KSM project, also known as Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell.
Seabridge has applied to open the project more than 900 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, where the company says it would be able to mine 38.2 million ounces of gold and almost 5 billion kilograms of copper – enough to produce 130,000 tonnes of ore per day for up to 52 years.
The company says the project would create 1,800 jobs during construction and more than 1,000 permanent jobs if it gets up and running, though Seabridge also notes it still must find a partner to fund and actually build the mine.
B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the project would be a boon to the province’s economy and First Nations in the region. Read the rest of this entry »