Quebec Innu file $900-million lawsuit against Iron Ore Co. of Canada – The Canadian Press (Globe and Mail – March 21, 2013)

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MONTREAL – Two Quebec Innu communities have filed a $900-million lawsuit against the Iron Ore Co. of Canada, claiming the miner has violated its rights for nearly 60 years.

The Innu First Nations of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (Uashaunnuat) and Matimekush-Lac John (MLJ) said the IOC, which is majority-owned by Rio Tinto, caused harm by operating a large mining complex and railway on traditional territory (Nitassinan) in northeastern Quebec and Labrador since the 1950s without their prior consent.

The mining complex and activities are located in the communities of Schefferville, Labrador City and Sept-Îles.

“IOC and now Rio Tinto are the companies that have inflicted the most harm on the Uashaunnuat and MLJ and caused the most damage to our Nitassinan,” vice-chief Mike McKenzie of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam said in a statement on Wednesday.

The lawsuit and a motion seeking an injunction to stop all mining activity were filed Monday in Quebec Superior Court. They claim that IOC’s mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practising their traditional way of life.

They also said the 578-kilometre railway between Schefferville and Sept-Îles has opened up their territory to “numerous other destructive development projects.”

The allegations have not been proven in court.

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