14th April 2014

Vancouver Island First Nation declares ‘tribal park’ to protect land – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – April 13, 2014)


Latest park meant to thwart potential Imperial Metals mining project near Tofino

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island has used a unilateral tribal park declaration to try to control development on their traditional territories. The Tranquil Valley tribal park in Clayoquot Sound — where Imperial Metals is investigating the possibility of a mine — is the third tribal park the First Nation has declared.

The Tla-o-qui-aht has declared this territory, about 20 kilometres northeast of Tofino, off limits to mining activity after the province issued a gold exploration permit to the Vancouver-based company last summer.

While tribal parks have not been recognized by the province, Parks Canada worked with the Tla-o-qui-aht on a “tribal parks establishment project” in one of its declared parks in 2009.

The tribal parks are meant to create a management system to protect the land, but also create sustainable jobs. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has done that, for example, with hatchery programs to improve fisheries, bear watching and run-of-the-river hydro projects. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict | 0 Comments

27th March 2014

Clark’s mining push meets resistance – by Mark Hume (Globe and Mail – March 27, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is 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 — Premier Christy Clark’s push for new mines in British Columbia is becoming mired in growing controversy.

On Wednesday, a delegation from Alaska was in Washington, D.C., to lobby the U.S. government concerning five proposed mines in northwest B.C. that are on watersheds draining into southeast Alaska. The delegation, representing 40 businesses, tribes, commercial fishing groups and environmentalists, claims the mines pose unacceptable risks to Alaska’s salmon fishery.

“We’re really worried about where this is going to go,” Brian Lynch, executive director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association said about the proposed development of the mines near the Alaska border.

Mr. Lynch said he’s worried because the B.C. government seems to be simultaneously fast-tracking several mines without providing adequate resources for environmental reviews. “I doubt any agency could handle that work load,” he said. “The money is just not there to do that kind of work – and that scares us.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

27th March 2014

Taseko launches second legal action over federal rejection of B.C. mine – by Peter Koven (National Post – March 27, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Taseko Mines Ltd. is taking the federal government to court for the second time in four months, claiming its rejection of the New Prosperity project was based on a highly unfair process that included inappropriate meetings with opponents of the mine that it only learned about through Facebook.

The Vancouver-based miner said these meetings were documented in Facebook posts by a First Nations chief. It claims the government declined to talk about them or let Taseko respond to what was discussed.

Taseko filed an application for a judicial review on Wednesday to try to force the government to reconsider New Prosperity, based on its belief that Ottawa did not run a fair process. It launched a separate judicial review in federal court back in December, claiming there was a key technical error in a review of the British Columbia project that influenced Ottawa’s decision.

“The process was flawed,” said Brian Battison, Taseko’s vice president of corporate affairs. “The findings were wrong and the decision to deny the project was certainly wrong. We expect to prove that in court.” The $1.5-billion New Prosperity has been controversial from the start. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict | 0 Comments

20th March 2014

Whose duty to consult [First Nations]? – by Doug Beazley (National Magazine – March 2014)


It’s being left up to resource companies to negotiate access to aboriginal land. Is government outsourcing DTC to the private sector? Hindsight says everyone involved probably should have seen it coming.

In June 2012 — more than a year before Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. suspended its planned $3.3-billion chromite-mining operation in Northern Ontario, putting the entire Ring of Fire mining rush on the bubble — Northern Superior Resources quietly halted exploration of its gold claims in northwestern Ontario.

The junior miner was mired in a dispute with the local Sachigo Lake First Nation over compensation for exploration activities in Treaty 9 territory. Under Ontario’s Mining Act, mining start-ups on aboriginal land can proceed only after consultation with local aboriginal communities, which the company did. But things went off the rails.

The company found itself embroiled in disputes with the community over invoices and fees. At one point, the First Nation blocked two Northern Superior staffers from flying out of the community for a day.

In October 2013, Northern Superior filed a $110-million statement of claim against the Ontario government in a case that maps one of the deepest fault lines in the relationship between the Crown and First Nations: the legal doctrine of duty-to-consult (DTC). Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Mining Conflict, Ontario Mining | 1 Comment

19th March 2014

Chilcotin Crossroads – by Bill Gallagher (First Perspective – March 19, 2014)


Bill Gallagher is a lawyer, strategist and published author of Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources

B.C.’s road to resources traverses the Chilcotin, a vast central region that has now seen more political and project fallout than perhaps anywhere else in Canada. At its heart lies picture-perfect Fish Lake, the site of Taseko Mines (twice proposed / twice denied) gold-copper open pit mine project. It was just in the business news for all the wrong reasons: “Harper rips Taseko’s B.C. mine proposal: environmental report ‘damning’ Harper says” (Financial Post headline Mar 4 2014).

Four years ago, that proposed mine was ground-zero where the political careers of former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell and former federal environment minister Jim Prentice collided as they tried to navigate this treacherous intersection of aboriginal rights, determined miners, eco-activists and panel reviews. Campbell had wanted this project – but Prentice denied it – as a direct result both walked away from politics in the immediate aftermath. That happened in late 2010, after Prentice turned ‘thumbs-down’ on the (1st) Prosperity Mine because there was a ‘scathing’ joint panel review. Premier Campbell resigned 24 hours later; then Prentice did likewise.

It was strident native opposition to the proposed mine that was ‘the elephant in the room’ – then and now – more so than rampant eco-activism. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th March 2014

Agencies Dodge Responsibility for Human Cost of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining – by Mary Anne Hitt (Huffington Post – March 14, 2014)


Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

This week, we got some disappointing news – a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers isn’t responsible for considering the health effects of coal pollution when it issues permits to fill valleys with rubble from mountaintop-removal coal mines. As Appalachian residents continue to suffer every year from well-documented health problems linked to mountaintop removal, this decision highlights a deadly loophole that requires long-overdue action from the White House and Congress.

Responsibility is a tricky thing. In our daily lives we work to be conscientious of our bills, our taxes, our family lives and a myriad of other duties that come up every day. But what happens when say, no one in the house takes responsibility for the dirty dishes? They keep piling up and things get pretty nasty.

Now, instead of dishes, think about what happens when no one chooses to take responsibility for the terrible effects coal pollution has on public health. From soot and smog to asthma, cancer and heart attacks, things go from nasty to life-threatening. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian Media Resource Articles, Coal, Mining Conflict, Mining Environmental and Water Shortage Issues, United States Mining and History | Comments Off

12th March 2014

Wabauskang to attack Ontario’s ability to delegate aspects of aboriginal consultation to industry at Supreme Court (Kenora Daily Miner and News – March 11, 2014)


Wabauskang First Nation has decided to use its hearing with the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge the Province of Ontario’s ability to delegate the carrying out of aboriginal consultation to mining companies, rather than having the Ministry of Mining and Northern Development deal with First Nations themselves.

Wabauskang was granted a hearing at the Supreme Court in October to settle its long-standing fight with Rubicon Minerals over a proposed mining project inside the First Nation’s territory. With the hearing set for sometime during the week of April 14, Wabauskang, the provincial government and Rubicon have all submitted outlines of their arguments to the court for the justices to consider.

The aboriginal community will still be making the argument that the federal government’s approval is required before treaty land can be appropriated for development use, something the Crown is allowed to do according to Treaty 3. But the First Nations lawyers have also added another argument which says the provincial government went too far when it delegated the responsibility for conducting mandatory consultations with them, and so, the plan for the mine project which has been approved by Ontario is invalid. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th March 2014

Norilsk Nickel Turns its Attention to the Environment and Tier 1 Assets – by Vladislav Vorotnikov (Engineering and Mining Journal – February 2014)


Something happened on the road to the Voronezh project; environmental activists backed by Putin convinced Russian nickel miners to clean up their act

MMC Norilsk Nickel, the largest mining company in Russia and one of the world’s largest nonferrous base-metal miners, faces very serious pressure from the community and Russian environmental protection organizations. They claim that the company’s activity harms the health of surrounding citizens and nature. These pressures combined with weaker prices for metals are raising future performance standards for the company.

In terms of total world production, Norilsk Nickel mines palladium (41%), nickel (17%), platinum (11%), cobalt (10%, concentrate) and copper (2%). Domestically, the company accounts for all of the platinum production, most of the nickel (96%), cobalt (95%) and a majority of the copper (55%). As an industrial leader, it plays a crucial role in the Russian economy, accounting for about 4.3% of all Russian exports, 1.9% of GDP, 2.8% of total industrial output and 27.9% of output of the non-ferrous metallurgy industry.

Recently Norilsk Nickel updated its development strategy, which, as confirmed by top management, dramatically changes its course for the coming years. The primary focus of development in accordance with the new plan will be on large assets, possibly including Voronezh, the last large non-developed nickel deposit in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Europe Mining, Mining Conflict, Mining Environmental and Water Shortage Issues, Nickel, Norilsk Nickel, United States Mining and History | Comments Off

7th March 2014

Ontario serves up miner with Statement of Defence – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 6, 2014)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

The Ontario government says it’s not liable for any damages incurred by a Sudbury-based junior miner after a dispute between the company and a First Nation forced it to abandon exploration work in northwestern Ontario.

The province submitted its Statement of Defence with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Jan. 21 in response to a $110-million lawsuit filed against the Crown last October by Northern Superior Resources (NSR).

The company accuses the government of failing in its legal duty to consult with the Sachigo Lake First Nation after a series of disagreements with the band caused the company to suspend exploration on a promising gold property in late 2011.

In an 18-page document outlining its position, the government said the company’s claims for compensation are “exaggerated, excessive, remote” and should be dismissed. The government contends Northern Superior’s decision to stop exploration was their decision and the Crown is not responsible for any demands made on the company by Sachigo, or the company’s decision to reject them.

Read the rest of this entry »

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7th March 2014

Mining Minnesota’s Canoe Country – by Greg Breining (Audubon Magazine – March-April 2014)


A project could poison one of North America’s most important watersheds for years.

A mining company has set its sights on northern Minnesota’s fabled canoe country.

If PolyMet gets its way, the first open-pit copper-nickel mine in the region will begin operations later this year, raising fears that the mine will leak acid and toxic metals into wetlands and waterways that feed into Lake Superior.

PolyMet’s NorthMet mine would sit along the Mesabi Range in Superior National Forest, about a mile south of an existing taconite mine. The company would dig up nearly 1,000 acres of spruce-dominated wetlands to depths of 700 feet, stockpiling waste rock nearby. It would haul ore to a nearby refurbished taconite plant for processing, and jettison tailings in an existing taconite basin. Over 20 years it plans to excavate some 533 million tons of waste rock and ore. The project, PolyMet says, would create up to 500 jobs during peak construction and 360 during operations.

Miners have dug sprawling open pits in Minnesota for more than a century. But unlike most mined ore, the region’s copper-nickel is locked in a sulfide- containing matrix. Once exposed to oxygen and water, sulfides oxidize to produce sulfuric acid and release metals in soluble forms, including mercury, copper, iron, and nickel. Acidic and metallic drainage from the mine pit, waste-rock stockpiles, and tailings basin could continue to leach into ground and surface water long after the mine is closed. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Mining Conflict, Minnesota Duluth Complex and Iron Range, United States Mining and History | Comments Off

7th March 2014

B.C. Government Support for New Prosperity Mine Sends Confusing Message To First Nations – by Adam Olsen (Huffington Post – March 7, 2014)


Adam Olsen is the interim leader of the BC Green Party.

The Canadian government has rejected the New Prosperity Gold & Copper Mine southwest of Williams Lake, B.C. for the second time. Federal Conservative Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that she, like her predecessor Jim Prentice, had turned down the mine proposal concluding the “project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated.”

No doubt the announcement caused a collective sigh of relief from the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc Nations who have spent more than two decades opposing the project. The Federal Review Panel’s final report to the government last October found New Prosperity would “adversely affect” the local First Nations way of life and that the impact would be “significant” and “could not be mitigated.”

Despite the fact that the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc are opposed to the New Prosperity mine, the B.C. Liberal government continues to support the project. This is both profoundly troubling and inconsistent with their commitments to First Nations.

In the last few weeks alone there has been no shortage of B.C. Liberal rhetoric about the importance of building relationships and partnerships with First Nations that are founded on respect: Read the rest of this entry »

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27th February 2014

Taseko New Prosperity Mine Rejected By Federal Government – by Canadian Press (Huffington Post – February 27, 2014)


Canadian Press – VANCOUVER – The federal government has again rejected a proposed $1.5-billion, open-pit, gold-copper mine in British Columbia’s Interior over environmental concerns, a decision critics are celebrating but one the company vows to fight.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Wednesday evening that her ministry has rejected the New Prosperity Gold Copper Mine for a second time because it will cause significant adverse environmental effects that can’t be mitigated.

Just four years ago, the ministry rejected the project because Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) planned to drain a lake to use as a tailings pond. “The Government of Canada will make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations,” said Aglukkaq in a news release.

“The government will continue to make responsible resource development a priority and invites the submission of another proposal that addresses the government’s concerns.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict | Comments Off

24th February 2014

Robert Redford: National ecological treasure in danger – by Robert Redford (U.S.A. Today – February 20, 2014)


I, along with many others, have been working for years to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, from large-scale mining. This spectacular, unspoiled landscape is home to the largest wild salmon fishery in the world. Every year tens of millions of salmon return to Bristol Bay to feed thriving commercial and sports fishing industries, as well as brown bears, whales, bald eagles and wolves. And they’re the centerpiece of sustenance and culture for Alaska Natives who have lived there for thousands of years.

Incredibly, a Canadian-based mining company wants to build a vast open-pit gold and copper mine, one of the largest in the world, in the heart of this national treasure. The operation, known as Pebble Mine, would threaten the ecosystem and salmon – the entire lifeblood of the region.

That’s why it has been crystal clear to so many of us that this misguided scheme must be stopped. And now the federal Environmental Protection Agency has provided what should be the definitive evidence that the Pebble Mine would be a disaster.

In a final assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed that took three years of extensive scientific research, peer review and public comment to produce, the agency last month found the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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21st February 2014

First Nations opposing mining and exploration in Northern Manitoba – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – February 21, 2014)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

Northern Manitoba’s Manto Sipi Cree Nation and Mathias Colomb Cree Nation announced their opposition to mineral exploration in their traditional and ancestral territories this week.

Manto Sipi Cree Nation at Gods River issued a press release Feb. 18 stating that it would block mineral exploration and work permits on its ancestral lands in northeastern Manitoba and will not consult with the provincial government until all land disputes are addressed and settled. The press release said the province had recently sent three work permit applications for Mineral exploration to Manto Sipi Cree Nation.

“I have been given a strong mandate to initiate legal, political and defensive action against outside encroachment,” said Manto Sipi Cree Nation Chief Michael Yellowback in the press release. “Manto Sipi Cree Nation will stop all three work permit applications immediately. One of the main issues is that Manto Sipi Cree Nation has exhausted all avenues in dealing with [Mineral Resources] Minister [Dave] Chomiak on Manto Sipi Cree Nation’s land claim which is on an expired mineral claim purportedly held by Jim Campbell. The minister’s legal position and opinion on this Godslith Claim has been refuted by our lawyers, so we will challenge it in court.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Manitoba Mining, Mining Conflict, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Thompson | Comments Off

21st February 2014

Environmental watchdog urges rejection of Sept-Îles mining project – by Michelle Lalonde (Montreal Gazette – February 19, 2014)


Quebec’s environmental watchdog, the BAPE, has recommended the provincial environment minister not approve a controversial phosphate rock mine in Sept-Îles “in its current form.”

The report from the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement, made public on Wednesday, says the mining company, Mine Arnaud Inc., has not provided enough convincing evidence that its proposed open pit mine won’t contaminate nearby waterways or cause landslides.

“This is only the second time in 30 years that the BAPE has rejected a mining project for environmental reasons,” said Ugo Lapointe of Québec meilleure mine, a coalition of groups critical of Quebec’s mining industry. “It’s a very harsh judgment on this project.”

The Arnaud Mine, a joint project between Investissement Québec and a Norwegian firm called Yara international ASA, would produce apatite, a type of phosphate rock used to make agricultural fertilizer. Mine proponents said it would directly create about 330 permanent jobs, and another 425 indirectly, and otherwise stimulate the economy of the Sept-Îles region during the next 23 years.

At almost a kilometre wide, 3.7 kms long, and 240 metres deep, the mine would be the largest open pit mine in an inhabited area in Quebec. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict, Potash/Phosphate, Quebec Mining | Comments Off

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