Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Attawapiskat could have more prosperity, but not by getting local diamond mines to shut down – by Joseph Quesnel (Financial Post – March 22, 2017)

Attawapiskat First Nation — an isolated Northern Ontario reserve — played a prominent role in the Idle No More indigenous protest movement that erupted in 2012. Then Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence complained to the media about unacceptable housing conditions on her reserve. The movement was energized by Chief Spence’s decision to declare a hunger strike to raise awareness of the ongoing First Nation housing and infrastructure crises.

Attawapiskat’s band council was subjected to a government-commissioned audit in 2012 that found little proper documentation for millions of dollars spent by the band government.

Attawapiskat has largely fallen out of the news. But, a few weeks ago, diamond producer De Beers announced it was shelving plans for an expansion of a diamond mine located nearby. The company had planned to draw five or six more years of production from the mine. However, without Attawapiskat support, the company will not proceed. Continue Reading →

Indigenous Australians: Labor to support native title changes to protect mining deals – by Gareth Hutchens (The Guardian – March 21, 2017)

Labor will support the Turnbull government’s move to amend the Native Title Act following a shock federal court decision striking out a native title deal in Western Australia last month.

It means mining projects – including Adani’s Carmichael coalmine – already in operation under Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) may not be affected by the federal court’s ruling.

The news has angered Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners fighting Adani’s mine. They have accused Labor of “lining up with the government” to wind back their rights. Continue Reading →

OPINION: We need to start calling out corporate ‘redwashing’ – by Clayton Thomas-Müller (CBC News Opinion – March 20, 2017)

Redwashing is when corporations paint themselves as good neighbours by sponsoring Indigenous initiatives

Have you ever wondered why corporations and banks provide sponsorship for so many Indigenous educational, cultural and artistic institutions? Are they really good neighbours? Socially responsible corporate citizens? It seems like everywhere you look, there they are: sponsoring our Indigenous award shows, our schools, our pow wows — the list goes on.

In my own territory in northern Manitoba, we see the presence of Manitoba Hydro in just about every aspect of our community, including sponsorship of school barbecues and Treaty Days celebrations.

In Fort Chipewyan, Alta., Syncrude sponsors the local youth centre, where Dene, Cree and Métis youth go to learn and socialize. In northern Saskatchewan, uranium giant Cameco makes sure to report about the millions it spends on initiatives for aboriginal youth. Continue Reading →

Ontario First Nation plunges into mine training – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 20, 2017)

Wahgoshig, Primero Mining finds common ground in hard rock mining

A Northern College mining training program is providing a path to employment for a northeastern Ontario First Nation community.

A Feb. 24 ceremony held at the college’s Timmins campus for five Wahgoshig First Nation residents who graduated from the underground hard rock miner common core program marked the fourth and final class from a successful three-way partnership between the college, Wahgoshig, and Primero Mining Corp., operators of the Black Fox Gold Mine near Matheson.

Buoyed by funding from the province’s Aboriginal Economic Development Fund, that brings the total complement of Wahgoshig graduates to 24, with 72 per cent from that group still working in the mining industry. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Uncertainty key factor discouraging mining investment in Canada – by Kenneth Green and Taylor Jackson (Vancouver Sun – March 13, 2017)

Kenneth P. Green is senior director and Taylor Jackson is a senior policy analyst in natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute.

In recent years, depressed commodity prices have plagued Canada’s mining industry. One recent report showed that spending on exploration — the lifeblood of the industry — dropped for the fourth consecutive year and is at its lowest point since 2005.

In conditions like these, when prices are low and profits are uncertain, onerous regulatory costs and uncompetitive policies can discourage investment in exploration, thereby diminishing the chances that a viable deposit will be found and eventually developed into a producing mine.

While Canada performs well as a whole in offering an attractive policy environment for mining exploration, a number of Canadian provinces and territories continue to fall behind. And policy uncertainty appears to be the main culprit. Continue Reading →

Mining and the Metis: Not a challenge — an opportunity – by Drew Hasselback (Financial Post – March 7, 2017)

Consulting with affected aboriginal groups isn’t just a legal requirement before a mining company begins work on a Canadian property, it’s become a standard business practice.

But where mining companies once might have thought the duty to consult required them to speak with one of Canada’s more than 600 “pre-contact” First Nations groups, recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions confirm they might also need to deal with the Métis people.

“The law is absolutely clear. There’s no room for debate on it. It’s an equal consideration. It’s not anything less,” said lawyer Thomas Isaac, a partner with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. Continue Reading →

A fair stake: First Nations seek equity positions in northern mining operations – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – March 7, 2017)

Many First Nations groups are involved in Canadian mining developments, but few can claim to have their own mining division. That’s exactly the ambition of the Tlicho, a self-governed First Nation with a sprawling land base in south central Northwest Territories.

As part of a ratified treaty with the Canadian government signed in 2005, the Tlicho gained subsurface rights to 39,000 square kilometres of land with known deposits of gold, cobalt, diamonds and other minerals.

For years the four communities within the Tlicho have been involved in the territory’s diamond mining industry, and today there are several First Nations-owned mining service companies within Tlicho Investment Corp., its local holding company. Continue Reading →

First Nations welcome mining but it needs to be fair, says Ontario regional chief – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – March 8, 2017)

“Contrary to popular belief, Canada’s First Nations welcome mining
developments,” emphasized Day. And want to be able to share in the
benefits – including revenue sharing a concept, that was advocated
in the Federal Royal Commission into Aboriginal People and also the
Provincial Ipperwash Commission.”

Mining is important for improving the wellbeing of First Nations, but revenues from mining must be shared more equitably, said Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, at the opening ceremony for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention in Toronto.

“I want to acknowledge that the work of PDAC has really moved forward the agenda of indigenous people working in mining,” said Day. Day said Ontario and Canada must implement a nation-to-nation relationship and revenue sharing that have been recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Ipperwash Inquiry in 2007 neither government has so far implemented those recommendations.

“Contrary to popular belief, Canada’s First Nations welcome mining developments,” emphasized Day. Continue Reading →

Programmed targets employment for 5000 Indigenous Australians – by Ben Creagh (Australian Mining – March 6, 2017)

Mining services provider Programmed has set a goal to employ 5000 Indigenous Australians across its operations.

Programmed, which also operates in industry sectors like oil and gas, manufacturing and retail, announced the 10-year plan in Canberra last week with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest.

It is the largest ever contract by an Australian company for Indigenous employment. According to Programmed, the company wants a workforce that reflects the diversity of society by culture, gender, age, sexual orientation and abilities. Continue Reading →

‘Vast’ wealth: Nunavut at a crossroads when it comes to untapped mineral riches – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – March 6, 2017)

An Inuit elder pointed to a ridge on the barren landscape where Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. had proposed to build its Meadowbank gold mine. Out there, he said, is where his ancestors were buried. But that wouldn’t stop him from supporting the miner’s development, which proved local folklore right: The area was rich with gold.

In that moment nearly a decade ago, Agnico Eagle chief executive officer Sean Boyd said he knew the people of Nunavut welcomed development, as long as it respected their land and provided Inuit with economic opportunities.

“We returned from that first visit and concluded quite quickly that this was a place we could do business,” he said during an interview in his Toronto office, fresh off a trip to the territory some 2,500 kilometres north. “They weren’t anti-mining and we just felt that was refreshing.” Continue Reading →

First Nation-led environmental review panel rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops, B.C. – by Maryse Zeidler (CBC News British Columbia – March 4, 2017)

Controversial $1.3-billion project has residents divided

The Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation has rejected a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine south-west of Kamloops, B.C., after its months-long review of the project. The decision could be an important upset for KGHM International, a subsidiary of Polish company KGHM Polska Miedźthat, which has been trying to push the controversial $1.3-billion project forward since 2006.

According to the company’s website, the Ajax Project is the first in B.C.’s history that was required to prepare a First Nations consultation plan as part of its environmental assessment process.

The panel’s decision was announced Saturday afternoon at a ceremony at the Moccasin Square Gardens in Kamloops, with about 200 people in attendance. The First Nation said it prefers to protect the long-term health of its traditional territory instead of take advantage of short-term economic benefits. Continue Reading →

Miners shy away from investing in Ontario: land claim uncertainty to blame, report says – by Angela Gemmill (CBC News Sudbury – March 01, 2017)

Want to invest in mining? Fraser report says look to Manitoba and Saskatchewan

When it comes to investment in mineral exploration, Ontario has dropped into a slump, the latest report from the Fraser Institute says. The think-tank recently rated 104 regions around the world on their geological and regulatory attractiveness to those looking to invest in mineral exploration.

The report named Saskatchewan as the top jurisdiction for investment. The prairie province moved up to first from second place in 2015. Manitoba moved up to second place this year after ranking 19th the previous year.

Western Australia dropped to third, after Saskatchewan displaced it as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world. Rounding out the top-10 are Nevada, Finland, Quebec, Arizona, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, and Queensland. Ontario dropped three spots this year to 18th place. The reason? Mining companies are put off by the uncertainty around land claims in Ontario, the report says. Continue Reading →

Look to public-private partnerships to build infrastructure for Ring of Fire – by Joseph Quesnel and Kenneth Green (Thunder Bay chronicle-Journal – March 1, 2017)

Joseph Quesnel is a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute.Kenneth Green is senior director of natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute.

It has been 10 years since the discovery of a massive chromite deposit in Northern Ontario, which could be a game changer for the region’s economy. But despite this potential, the developers are still as far away from bringing a mine into operation today as they were a decade ago.

Known as the Ring of Fire, the area is rich with deposits of chromite — which is used in the production of stainless steel — nickel and copper.

The possible upside of the region’s economic potential is tremendous. At one point, then Conservative treasury board president Tony Clement called the Ring of Fire an economic equivalent of the Alberta oil sands given the projected investment required. That may be an exaggeration of course, but the deposit nevertheless has the potential for thousands of jobs for several decades of mining. Continue Reading →

Encanto Potash and Muskowekwan First Nation sign new mining regulation agreement – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – February 28, 2017)

Encanto Potash Corp. has signed an agreement with Muskowekwan First Nation and the provincial and federal governments that it says will pave the way for construction of its proposed potash mine on the reserve northeast of Regina.

The agreement is expected to lead to the first First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA), legislation that applies existing provincial rules to large-scale projects on First Nations land, the Toronto-based company said in a news release.

“By achieving this milestone, the first ever for such a planned large scale operation in Canada, we have been breaking entirely new ground,” Muskowekwan Chief Reginald Bellerose said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Carleton University screens doc about Nunavut mining and the land – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – February 28, 2017)

“We’re the smiling Eskimo. We sort of look dumb. But times are changing and we’re learning how the system works”

Award-winning Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk is excited about this week’s screening of his 2014 documentary My Father’s Land in Ottawa and he’s looking forward to going to the capital to answer questions from the audience when the film is over. But he almost didn’t get there.

Kunuk recently lost his wallet on a January trip to Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival in Toronto, and with it, all his photo identification. To make matters worse, Kunuk’s passport just expired so he now has no photo ID. He was hoping to get a temporary ID from the Igloolik hamlet office so he could fly.

Reached at his home in Igloolik Feb. 23, Kunuk and friends were in the middle of assembling and checking gear for a weekend walrus hunting trip. Continue Reading →