Bob McLeod defends government’s decision to help settle negotiation over access road to NICO project
The premier of the Northwest Territories says his government did nothing wrong in applying to the courts to settle a negotiation between a mining company and the Tlicho government.
Bob McLeod was responding to the Tlicho government’s suggestion that the territorial government is siding with a junior mining company against the First Nation. “It seems a stretch to me,” he said during an interview Monday. “If you negotiate a process in a land-claim agreement, how can you impute motives? Any project that comes along, are they going to accuse us of siding with a mining proponent?”
Fortune Minerals wants to build a 49-kilometre road from the end of the proposed Tlicho all-season road to its NICO project. According to an affidavit from a government official, Fortune wrote to the government to say its attempt to negotiate an access agreement with the Tlicho to allow construction of the road has stalled.
Fortune said it wants to begin building a mine at the site next year, but needs to negotiate the access agreement because the road would pass over Tlicho lands.
The company wanted to make use of a dispute resolution mechanism in the Tlicho Agreement to settle the access negotiation. The agreement requires two staff to settle disputes, but the positions have been vacant for years. As a back-up, the agreement allows a judge to settle disputes.
For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/tlicho-court-application-premier-reaction-1.4723825