Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Romano plans to pen private member’s bill designed to better educate Ontarians – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 20, 2017)

Sault MPP Ross Romano said he got a hard life lesson during his two-week trip to First Nation communities in Ontario’s far north.

So much so, he said, that he’s already drafting a private member’s bill that he hopes will enlighten Ontarians and provide future generations with a better understanding of how some First Nation communities live. That education also needs to include a better understanding of treaties and how they work and teach youth, at a younger age, to better appreciate relationships with Indigenous people.

“The prejudices and discrimination that exist are very obvious and something that I really learned a lot about by spending time in these communities,” Romano told The Sault Star. “I was told I may be the only politician that has ever spent a night in these communities.” Continue Reading →

[Manitoba Mining] Look North economic strategy battles difficult future north of 53rd parallel – by Sean Kavanagh (CBC News Manitoba – October 20, 2017)

A mix of optimism, a fresh start and a healthy dose of reality pervade the Look North report on the economy of northern Manitoba.

“What we’re suggesting is this is a starting point so we can capitalize on the opportunities that exist in the north,” said Look North task force co-chair Chuck Davidson, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

The Look North report and action plan for northern Manitoba economic development was produced by a provincially appointed task force that held its first meeting in December 2016. The task force is co-chaired by Davidson and Christian Sinclair, an independent business adviser and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Continue Reading →

Group of 29 tribes oppose Pebble Mine, B.C.’s ‘transboundary’ projects – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – October 20, 2017)

Southeast and Bristol Bay tribal mining opposition now has a unified front. Two Alaska Native tribal consortiums announced a “historic” partnership Wednesday at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Tribal groups representing a majority of the indigenous peoples in Southeast and Bristol Bay will work together to oppose mining projects in both regions. The Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) and Douglas Indian Association (DIA) are part of the agreement.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), which represents 80 percent of the 14 Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), which represents 15 of the region’s 19 tribal organizations. Continue Reading →

First Nations leaders break with Ottawa on environmental policy – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – October 20, 2017)

First Nations leaders have halted their collaboration with Liberal government on developing environmental legislation, arguing Ottawa is failing to make good on its vaunted commitments to work in partnership with Indigenous people.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, three members of the Assembly of First Nations executive committee said they were promised that they would be full partners in crafting the rules under which major mining, oil and gas and pipeline projects would be assessed.

They complained they are being left out of key decisions on the proposed legislation. The letter, dated Oct. 16, was provided to The Globe and Mail on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Western Nunavut to pressure new government on Grays Bay – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 18, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—The Kitikmeot Inuit Association wants to make sure the Grays Bay Road and Port project remains a top government priority, because the Oct. 30 territorial election could see western Nunavut left out of the territory’s leadership circle.

That’s because two of the Grays Bay project’s biggest champions, Peter Taptuna and Keith Peterson, are not seeking re-election.

The upcoming election could result in “a cabinet that may have quite different priorities than the ones which we have enjoyed under [outgoing] Premier Peter Taptuna,” KIA President Stanley Anablak said Oct. 16 in his president’s report to the annual general meeting of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association in Cambridge Bay. Continue Reading →

New uranium mines: no simple answers – by Emery Cowan (Arizona Daily Sun – October 15, 2017)

A town on the edge of the Navajo Nation that unknowingly drank uranium-tainted water for at least 12 years. Navajo babies showing increasing uranium concentrations during their first year of life.

Children swimming in natural pools near Cameron they later learned had been filled with water from abandoned uranium mines. The stories about the impacts of Cold War-era uranium mining on the Navajo Nation became highly personal during a forum hosted at the Museum of Northern Arizona Wednesday night.

Four decades later, the subject has come to the fore again as a grandfathered uranium mine moves forward with operations south of Tusayan and a new president stokes fears about the reopening of 1 million acres of the Grand Canyon watershed outside the national park to new mining. Continue Reading →

First Nations seek to raise Canada’s rent after 150 years of $4 payments – by Ashifa Kassam (The Guardian – October 15, 2017)

When the fur-trader-turned-politician William Benjamin Robinson pulled up to the shores of the river that links Lake Superior and Lake Huron in 1850, his mission was clear: he was to gain access to as much of the vast territory around him as possible.

Acting on behalf of Queen Victoria, Robinson soon launched into formal negotiations with the indigenous people who lived in what would later become north-eastern Ontario in Canada. Robinson treated with nearly two dozen communities whose connection to the land stretched back millennia.

Few of them could read, write or speak English fluently, but the two sides eventually struck a deal: in exchange for access to more than 35,700 square miles of land, Robinson offered hunting and fishing rights – and an annual payment equivalent to C$2 (£1.20/$1.60) per person each year. Continue Reading →

High-speed Internet, low-grade water – Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – October 12, 2017)

TOP-OF-THE-LINE Internet service, taken for granted in many other parts of Canada, is coming to the Far North of Ontario. Not all of Northern Ontario is so lucky. The federal and Ontario governments will spend $67 million to install 880 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to five remote First Nation communities surrounding the Ring of Fire mineral zone.

Once mining exploration leads to the major developments to produce chromite and a host of other minerals, reliable high-speed Internet will be seen as the essential service that it is. Nearby First Nations will enjoy enormous improvements in their own ability to grow and develop and participate in the economic boom – once they find a way to negotiate ways into it. The province has forced the issue with plans for an all-season road. Three First Nations are on board; the rest remain undecided.

Ironically, parts of the North’s biggest city, Thunder Bay, and a large swath of the region surrounding it, do not enjoy the same level of Internet reliability. There are customers of TBaytel, the city-owned telecommunications company, that still do not have access to consistent high-speed Internet connections. Continue Reading →

Hunters still oppose winter sealift and railway for Mary River mine near Pond Inlet, Nunavut – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – October 11, 2017)

For several years, Baffinland Iron Mines has been trying to get permission for a railway and an extended shipping season for its Mary River mine — it’s still trying and hunters in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, are still opposed.

The mining company’s most recent proposal to the Nunavut Planning Commission was closed for public comments at the beginning of October and respondents are still wary of both elements of the revised plan.

In this iteration, Baffinland is looking for approval to build an 110-kilometre railway along the existing roadway, which connects the mine site to the Milne Inlet port site. It was also looking to extend the shipping season through to February by icebreaking. Continue Reading →

Indigenous leader urges partnerships to reap development rewards – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – October 3, 2017)

Any resource development that takes place in the Far North needs to happen with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people providing input and working together, said Jonathan Solomon, grand chief of the Mushkegowuk Council. That’s the message he brought as a keynote speaker to State of the North, the annual conference hosted by the Northern Policy Institute, held Sept. 27 to 29 in Timmins.

“As we talk about the state of the North, the First Nations that I represent have to be part of any movement as we move forward so we can say that we did it,” he said. “We did it in unison, working together; that’s very important.”

Solomon leads a tribal council that represents seven member communities, including Attawapiskat First Nation, Chapleau Cree, Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Missanabie Cree, Moose Cree First Nation, and Taykwa Tagamou First Nation (formerly New Post). Continue Reading →

Chief Isaac and the mass media – by Dorota Kupis (Yukon News – September 28, 2017)

The Yukon’s earliest newspapers frequently treated the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in poorly

The Klondike Gold Rush altered the lives of several Yukon First Nations. The most affected were the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, living near Dawson City. The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in came in contact with white people years before the gold rush. The first traders (Jack McQuesten, Frank Bonfield) arrived in their territories as early as 1874. Other than traders, early newcomers were missionaries and miners.

After gold was discovered on Rabbit Creek in 1896, enormous waves of white newcomers came to the Yukon. By 1898, about 40,000 people settled in Dawson City, the center of the Klondike Gold Rush, and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in living in this area became a minority in their traditional territories.

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, who relocated to the little community of Moosehide, three kilometers downriver from the new town, had to adapt their lives to interact with the residents of Dawson City and miners working on the adjacent creeks. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario First Nations go to court to increase their share of resource development funds – by Rob Csernyik (CIM Magazine – September 26, 2017)

A lawsuit aimed at increasing a treaty annuity unchanged since 1874 is being heard in Thunder Bay, Ontario, three years after it was initially filed.

The Robinson-Huron Treaty has nearly 30,000 Indigenous beneficiaries in Northern Ontario and the lawsuit on their behalf contends that the federal and provincial governments have not abided by the terms of the treaty, particularly in regards to a clause related to annuity augmentation.

“This is one of the only treaties, if not the only, that has this annuity escalator clause incorporated right in the treaty,” Chief Dean Sayers of the Batchewana First Nation told CIM Magazine. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario First Nations take federal and Ontario governments to court over $4 annual treaty payments – by Olivia Stefanovich (CBC News Sudbury – September 25, 2017)

Beneficiaries of the Robinson-Huron Treaty have not seen annuities go up since 1874

Twenty-one First Nations in northern Ontario are taking the federal and Ontario governments to court in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Monday to demand an increase to their annuities, which have not been raised in over 140 years. Since 1874, beneficiaries of the Robinson-Huron Treaty have been collecting $4 annually.

The treaty was originally signed in 1850. It stated that payments were supposed to increase if the resource revenues generated from the territory produced such an amount as to enable an increase without incurring a loss, according to Serpent River First Nation Chief Elaine Johnston.

“So Canada and Ontario receive revenues from the land that we agreed to those treaties,” Johnston said. “But we haven’t seen a recognition for that.” Now First Nation leaders who are part of the treaty spanning north of Parry Sound to Sudbury and west to Lake Superior are taking legal action to order an acknowledgment of a century-old promise. Continue Reading →

Nunavut, mining company, link arms to improve Kivalliq quality of life – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – September 21, 2017)

GN and AEM name 10 priority areas, but mention no budget to pay for it

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. wants to do more than just dig for gold in Nunavut. The multinational corporation, which operates mine sites in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut Sept. 20, pledging to collaborate with the territory on 10 high-profile “priority areas.”

Those areas are: health, education, training, economic development, infrastructure, housing, heritage resources, wildlife, public safety, and climate change. “None of those are directly mining related,” Agnico Eagle president Ammar Al-Joundi said during a media event at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit.

But, they are areas that are “absolutely essential” to good mining in the long run, he said, calling the MOU and investment in Nunavummiut all part of the company’s business strategy. The MOU came with no budget or specific funding source. But a spokesperson for the mining company, Dale Coffin, said later that a working group will be struck to further the memorandum’s goals and that any related costs would be borne by Agnico Eagle or the GN. Continue Reading →

Ajax mine: too close for comfort in Kamloops? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – September 19, 2017)

Copper-gold mine is just two kilometres from the city limits

“I’m not against mining, but…” That line from a recent letter to the editor in Kamloops This Week pretty much sums up the tone of discussion around the Ajax copper-gold mine – a discussion that has been going on in Kamloops since 2011.

It’s a discussion that promises to get more heated in the coming weeks, now that the mine project is in the public comment period of a joint provincial-federal environmental review.

According to KGHM International Ltd., the Polish company that would develop the mine, Ajax would cost $1 billion to build, create 1,800 short-term jobs over a two-and-a-half-year construction period and 500 permanent jobs once the mine is in operation, and generate an annual payroll of $60 million. Continue Reading →