GUEST COMMENT: Former Mine Watch co-ordinator responds to publisher’s column – by Joan Kuyak (Yellowknifer/NNSL Media – January 28, 2020)

Joan Kuyek is an organizer and former national coordinator of MiningWatch Canada.

I am writing to object to your patronizing column, which completely mischaracterizes my position on mining in the NWT.

Any mining should take into account the awesome costs that are externalized to people and the environment. The money going back to governments from mining companies has to be equal to the terrible costs for this and future generations.

I believe that Indigenous governments/peoples should have their own mineral strategies. In the NWT, as elsewhere, most of these nations have been so dispossessed and impoverished by extraction that they feel they have little choice but to accept new mines. Of course, they should decide if they want them and, if so, regulate them.

In exchange for the resources and for ruining the land for future use, mining companies provide some jobs, local contracts and a miniscule share of revenues (often less than the CEO’s salary). The profits go out of the territory and the toxic wastes are left behind.

Hopes and money get pinned on mineral exploration projects than never become mines, but cause endless conflict at the community level. Getting accurate information about these projects is very difficult, and it is not “naïve” (as you call it – not me) to need more information.

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