Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

OPINION: Canada has plenty of reasons to stand up to China. Arctic sovereignty isn’t one of them – by Michael Byers (Globe and Mail – December 2, 2020)

Michael Byers is the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia, and the author of International Law and the Arctic.

A Chinese state-owned company wants to purchase a gold mine in Nunavut. Does the Arctic location make the purchase a national security risk?

The Hope Bay gold mine is operated by TMAC Resources, a junior Canadian mining company. Shandong Gold wants to buy TMAC for $208-million, and 97 per cent of TMAC shareholders have approved the sale.

Meanwhile, however, the Canadian government has ordered a national security review; some experts, including retired Major-General David Fraser, have pointed to Arctic sovereignty and security as reasons for blocking the sale. Continue Reading →

Environmentalists in Ontario’s Ring of Fire: Inconvenient Truths – by Stan Sudol (December 1, 2020)

A recent commentary linking Neskantga’s water crisis to the proposed Ring of Fire mining development in Northwestern Ontario’s Far North made little sense except to further delay environmental assessments (EAs) for vital road infrastructure and enormous economic opportunities for the region’s impoverished Indigenous people. First and foremost, the fact that Neskantaga – with an on-reserve population of slightly less than 300 people – has not had potable water for an astonishing 25-years is a national disgrace.

Almost 150 years ago, Canada was small little country of around five million people and was able to build the longest railroad in the world, at that time, from Ontario to British Columbia, through some of the harshest geography on the planet in less than five years – 1880-1885.

And yet today, a G-7 country with a $2 TRILLION economy is unable to fix ALL the broken water systems in First Nations’ communities across the country in a similar time-period?

Not only does this reflect on the incompetence inside the federal government but it also damages the country’s international reputation and demonstrates Trudeau’s “reconciliation mantra” as nothing but pious hypocrisy.

However, one can understand Neskantaga’s consistent opposition to the Ring of Fire mineral developments when their water quality issues have not yet been resolved. Considering one of the community’s key advisors is a committed former Greenpeace, anti-mining activist, I suspect that opposition will not disappear once their water crisis is finally over. Continue Reading →

Mining push continues despite water crisis in Neskantaga First Nation and Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Dayna Nadine Scott and Deborah Cowen (The Conversation – November 22, 2020)

David Peerla, advisor to the Neskantaga First Nation, co-authored this article.

Dayna Nadine Scott is the York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy, York University, Canada.

Deborah Cowen is the Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto.

The infrastructure crises that have plagued Neskantaga First Nation for decades have reached a terrifying breaking point. On Oct. 21, the northern Anishinaabe community’s ailing water systems once again failed completely, and this time in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic.

With no running water flowing to homes, most of those living in the remote fly-in community were again forced to evacuate. Now a contractor working on repairing the water system has tested positive for COVID-19.

Residents are waiting in hotel rooms in Thunder Bay, worried about the rising number of positive cases around them. Continue Reading →

A Copper Mine vs. Sacred Apache Land: The Story in Words and Images – by Eliza Griswold (New York Times – November 17, 2020)

OAK FLAT: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West – by Lauren Redniss

Naelyn Pike, a skateboard aficionado and teenage Apache activist, arrived in Washington in 2013 to testify before Congress. When she passed through the metal detector in the Capitol, the tin jingles on her traditional dress set off the alarm.

She was speaking that day to a Senate subcommittee about the fate of Oak Flat, a vast plot of southeastern Arizona that is sacred to the San Carlos Apaches and lies above one of the largest known untapped veins of copper in the United States.

Since 2005, members of the San Carlos Apache tribe have been battling both a mining company and the federal government to keep the copper untouched. Not only would building the mine entail the collapse, or subsidence, of the tribe’s ceremonial land, but since the group’s spiritual identity is tied to that land, its members viewed the prospective demise of Oak Flat as a larger act of erasure and a violation of their religious freedom. Continue Reading →

Indigenous group strikes deal for equity stake in Keystone XL pipeline – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – November 18, 2020)

Indigenous-owned Natural Law Energy Inc. has signed a deal allowing it to make an equity investment of up to $1-billion in the Keystone XL pipeline, in a move it also hopes can help persuade opponents to support the project.

The deal with TC Energy Corp. gives Natural Law until September, 2021, to secure financing to buy into the pipeline. It builds on a memorandum of understanding signed two months ago. TC Energy TRP-T +0.09%increase says it will use similar ownership models for additional Indigenous communities along the Keystone XL corridor in Canada and the United States.

Natural Law Energy is an alliance of First Nations from lands that span Alberta and Saskatchewan. Continue Reading →

Ottawa wants you to wade in on the Ring of Fire environmental assessment – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 12, 2020)

Ottawa is inviting public feedback for how its new regional assessment process for the Ring of Fire should take shape.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) is inviting individuals, communities, and organizations to help them draft the terms of reference for this upcoming comprehensive study in the James Bay region.

They want stakeholder input on what should be the particular areas of focus in the assessment of the mineral-rich region slated for mine development as early as 2025. Continue Reading →

Yukon panel tackles contentious issue of reforming mining laws – by Dave Croft (CBC News Yukon – November 10, 2020)

An independent panel has begun working on recommendations for how the mining industry should be run in the territory. It’s released the results of a public consultation it did earlier this year.

That included more than 90 meetings, many written submissions, and thousands of comments on a survey, said Michael Pealow, the facilitator of the Mineral Development Strategy process.

The process came out of an agreement between Yukon’s 11 self-governing First Nations and the Yukon government, Pealow said. Continue Reading →

Tragic Childhood Paves Path Toward Energy for Indigenous Entrepreneur Chris Sankey – by Gregory John (Energy – August 24, 2020)


When Chris Sankey recalls his childhood, fond memories are intertwined with an inescapable sorrow. The loss of his parents to suicide and cancer, the tragic result of addiction, lack of opportunity and poverty, became the motivation for the 46-year-old father and business owner to change his own family’s future.

“When my parents struggled to pay the bills, put food on the table and clothes on our backs, I felt it immensely,” says Sankey, owner of the Blackfish Group of Companies.

“Their work was seasonal, and the finances didn’t always go where it was needed. I felt helpless and ashamed of what I didn’t have compared to my peers.” Continue Reading →

Nunavut should take another look at uranium policy, MLA John Main says – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – November 5, 2020)


If you thought the demise of the controversial Kiggavik uranium project in 2016 put a lid on the Nunavut uranium debate, think again.

John Main, the MLA for Arviat North–Whale Cove, said on Monday in a member’s statement that it’s time for the Government of Nunavut to take another look at the uranium policy statement it issued in 2012.

“I think we should consult Nunavummiut about whether they support uranium mining or not, and whether we should be talking about this matter, and if Nunavut should have that,” Main said. Continue Reading →

Clyde River mayor braces for legal action over iron mine expansion – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – November 4, 2020)

Front Page

Jerry Natanine prevailed in a high-profile 2017 Supreme Court case to prevent offshore seismic testing, and he says he’s prepared to use the legal system again, if necessary, to stop Baffinland Iron Mines from building a railway.

“Absolutely, I’m prepared to go to court,” Natanine says. “They’re just walking all over us.”

The mayor’s primary concern is for wildlife, particularly caribou, in relation to the proposed 110-km railroad that would stretch from the Mary River mine to Milne Inlet. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: IDNR-TV on Pre-Production of “Sacred Secrets of the North” Series — tribute to indigenous people values, traditions and wisdom (October 29, 2020)

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The original and unique series presents a wealth of insights, where Indigenous Peoples who thrive within the majestic panorama of Canada’s remote northern landscape share their time-honoured skills, values and traditions.

IDNR-TV goes beyond popular actor-adventure-themed television to portray authentic wilderness survival. Sacred Secrets of the North reveals traditional, authentic way of life.

Live, survive, work, hunt, heal, love, educate, cook in the roughness and isolation of the North — this is what will be presented, delivered in the purest tradition of the documented truth, coloured by the legends and customs of different Indigenous peoples. While so many seek meaning and authenticity in their lives, this series is sure to enlighten and inspire the public. Continue Reading →

Quebec Cree say top court’s decision a victory for Indigenous communities – by Susan Bell (CBC News Canada North – October 29, 2020)

The Quebec Cree Nation government says the Supreme Court of Canada’s refusal to consider an appeal in connection with a $200 million lawsuit against the government of Quebec gives more power to Indigenous communities across Canada to stop resource projects in their tracks. It said it also strengthens the legal notion that social acceptability is an essential requirement for developers.

In a decision released Oct. 15, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Strateco Resources, which sued over Quebec’s 2013 decision to stop a uranium project near the Cree community of Mistissini that didn’t have local or Cree Nation government support.

Both the Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the notion that the province was allowed to consider social acceptability in refusing to issue a permit to Strateco’s Matoush Project. Continue Reading →

$14 trillion investor coalition puts Australia’s miners on notice over Indigenous rights – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – October 29, 2020)

A coalition of global investors managing a collective $14 trillion has written to Australia’s biggest mining companies describing Rio Tinto’s destruction of Aboriginal rock shelters as a wake-up call and demanding assurances about their relationships with First Nations peoples.

In a letter circulated on Thursday, the investor group which included America’s Fidelity, the Church of England Pensions Board and several top local super funds said their long-term investments meant they needed to have confidence in how miners obtained and maintained their “social licence” with the traditional custodians of their land on which they operated.

The push comes after traditional owners were left devastated and investors shocked and outraged at Rio Tinto’s ill-fated decision to blast through two culturally significant 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Western Australia’s Juukan Gorge to enlarge an iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

Mining consultations continue even as water stops flowing for Neskantaga First Nation – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 28, 2020)

Consultation on the environmental assessment for a road to mineral deposit in northern Ontario will proceed even as one of the First Nations affected has been emptied out by an emergency.

Neskantaga First Nation was evacuated last week after the community water supply was shut down when an oily substance was discovered in the reservoir. Nearly all of its 300 residents are staying in hotels, about 450 kilometres away, in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Meanwhile, consultations on the terms of reference that will set the stage for environmental assessment on a mining supply road through Neskantaga’s traditional territory continue. Ontario has a constitutional duty to consult First Nations when their treaty rights may be impacted. Continue Reading →

Misgoverning the Canadian Arctic – by Sergiy Slipchenko (Excalibur – October 24, 2020)

York University’s Community Newspaper

The Canadian Arctic region has been often overlooked by the federal government in favour of more populated provinces, despite the importance and potential it holds. In 2020, a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has taken precedence over every other issue, this is more true than ever.

The Canadian North has often been put aside in the national agenda despite making up 40 per cent of Canada and is home to more than 100,000 residents. While the federal government has done extensive extraction of raw materials in Northern Canada, it is far behind when it comes to developing communities, infrastructure, and defence in the region.

Professor Gabrielle A. Slowey, a political science professor at York, neatly summarized Canada’s ventures in the north. Continue Reading →