Northern Ontario First Nations want the province to put a hold on mining exploration permits and pause the operation of a system that allows for the remote staking of mining claims while they deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias said all the band resources of his community of 300 people, which sits about 400 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, are stretched thin on COVID-19 prevention and preparation work.
“Right now we are in the middle of a pandemic and pretty much my staff is all hands on deck dealing with this,” said Moonias. “We don’t have the tools, the resources to look at permits. We are not like the government that has many different departments.”
The Ontario government has designated the mining sector as an essential service, meaning it isn’t under the same lockdown requirements as other parts of the economy under the provincial emergency order triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moonias said this has created additional pressures on his First Nation, which he said can’t deal with permitting related emails or alerts triggered by the province’s Mining Lands Administration System, which allows for remote staking of claims.
For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/first-nations-mining-permits-ontario-covid19-1.5550033