The battle between Cree First Nations and Strateco Resources heats up – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – December 21, 2013)

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The grand council of the Crees of Eeyou Istchee, the Cree regional authority and the Cree nation of Mistissini on Friday said they had filed a declaration of intervention in the legal proceedings recently started by uranium explorer Strateco Resources against the Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet.

Strateco, who seeks permission to undertake underground exploratory drilling in search of uranium at its Matoush advanced exploration project, early this month asked the Superior Court of Quebec to nullify the minister’s decision to refuse to grant a certificate of authorisation for the exploration.

Strateco had also asked the court to force the minister to issue a certificate of authorisation for the project. In his decision of November 7, Blanchet said that he refused to authorise the Matoush project owing to the absence of social acceptability for the project, particularly among the Crees.

Through the intervention filed today, the Crees sought full rights of participation in the proceedings, and urged the court to dismiss Strateco’s request.

“The requirement of social acceptability as a condition for development in Eeyou Istchee is an essential aspect of the successful nation-to-nation relationship between the Crees and Quebec. Strateco’s legal action represents a fundamental challenge to the principle of social acceptability, and to our treaty rights. We are committed to protecting our environment and our treaty rights, for current and future generations,” grand chief Dr Matthew Coon Come said.

Located near the Cree community of Mistissini on Cree family hunting lands, the Matoush project is the most advanced uranium project to date in the Cree territory of Eeyou Istchee and in Quebec.

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