First Nation, mining company announce partnership – by Alexandra Paul (Winnipeg Free Press – February 20, 2018)

A remote Manitoba First Nation has made history by partnering up with a mining company to explore diamond claims staked in the Oxford Lake area.

There’s only an outside chance the deal between Altius Resources Inc. and Manitoba’s Bunibonibee Cree Nation will lead to a new mining source for diamonds, but its chief and the lawyers who mediated the agreement with Altius say the deal breaks ground even if there’s never enough diamonds to open up a mine.

“It is very historic. It is, we believe, the first of its kind in Manitoba. It sets out the conditions for acquiring the First Nation’s consent. Which means the company has acquired it, but has done so on a whole series of protection and compensatory measures that are sufficient for the First Nation,” said Kate Kempton, counsel for the First Nation at the Toronto-based law firm Olthuis, Kleer and Townshend.

“That’s the way business should be done,” Kempton said. Altius posted a press statement under the First Nation’s letterhead applauding the exploration agreement Friday on its industry website, adding it was “pleased to announce the landmark exploration agreement.”

The statement focused on Bunibonibee Cree Nation and how pleased the First Nation was to promote a “co-operative and mutually respectful relationship related to mineral exploration in Bunibonibee’s traditional territory.”

The statement went on to say the exploration was related to Altius’s Lynx project, the first diamond discovery in Manitoba, announced last year in conjunction with the Manitoba Geological Survey.

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