Anishinabek seek mining capacity – by Marlene Bilous (Anishinabek News – January 20, 2014)

Anishinabek First Nations involved in mining issues are united in expressing their need for increased capacity at the local level in order to handle the increased paper burden caused by new mining regulations.

“Why is MNDM (Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines) not providing our five First Nations — as designated with high mining needs by MNDM — with a person for each of us?” Regional Grand Chief Peter Collins asked at October’s mining workshop for Northern Superior communities. “We have issues with the short notice period for claim staking and the very short response period for exploration plans and exploration permits.

“We are short of capacity at present and bogged down with paperwork and need at least one person for each First Nation in order to process all this extra paperwork required by the new mining regulations. We have a shortfall as there is mining exploration happening all across the territory. Furthermore, how do the other communities get on this list as many of the Northern Superior First Nations deal with mining?”

Participants at mining workshops in the four Anishinabek Nation regions all echoed the need for increased capacity at the First Nation level in order to protect Anishinabek and treaty rights and respond to the strict timelines required by Ontario’s new mining regulations.

With most provincial mining activity occurring in their territory, Northern Superior Chiefs were unanimous in seeking the services of a mining coordinator.

Anishinabek representatives at the Lake Huron workshop were especially vocal about the need for First Nation-level capacity to assist in the analysis of Closure Plans

“First Nations do not have the capacity to assess all these different reports,” said Henvey Inlet Chief Wayne McQuabbie. “ We need mining capacity at our local level and we need all parties at the table.”

Chiefs across the Anishinabek territory stressed that the time periods required by the new regulations were too short.

“Twenty-one days is not enough time to analyze an MNDM request for an exploration plan,” noted one participant. “ We have issues with the 30-day clause for responding to a notice for staking a claim. We want an extension as we have staff capacity issues.”

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee and Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief Isadore Day have stated that Anishinabek mining issues will be addressed by the Anishinabek- MNDM Bilateral Table on Mining.

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