An association representing mineral prospectors and developers says that comments made by a government minister about the Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Protocol report could endanger the province’s mining industry, particularly in the north.
“The comments of Manitoba’s honourable minister of growth, enterprise and trade during the public announcement of the Manitoba First Nations Mineral Development Protocol implied that the First Nation communities’ consent would be required before exploration permits would be issued,” said an Aug. 29 statement from Manitoba Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association (MSPDA) president Stephen Masson.
“He went on to say that communities could decide not to have exploration and mining in their traditional land use areas , which is essentially a veto which would have huge implications for the survival of Manitoba’s mining industry.”
The report, by former Manitoba cabinet minister Jim Downey and former Norway House Cree Nation chief and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs grand chief Ron Evans, is intended to help the provincial government develop processes to effectively foster cooperation between the mining industry and First Nations with mineral resources in their traditional territories.
The report includes a proposed Crown–Aboriginal consultation process guide, a matrix for mineral development, and clear time frames for various actions to take place, and also identifies opportunities to strengthen partnerships and to help First Nations benefit from mining projects in their vicinity.