Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

A Canadian company wants to build Brazil’s largest open-pit gold mine: Now that Bolsonaro is in power, it just might succeed – by Jacob Lorinc (Toronto Star – November 9, 2019)

On the morning of the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, in February 2017, a group of samba dancers stood solemnly in front of a massive parade float depicting five venomous snakes, their forked tongues protruding from the back of a bearded man with bloodshot eyes.

The gruesome display was a publicity stunt — a symbol of agribusiness invading the eastern edge of the Amazon rainforest, said the dancers in a press conference that morning. To the delegation of Indigenous leaders in attendance, the monster allegorized several industrial projects recently encroaching on their territories.

For some, it represented the Belo Monte, a massive government-owned hydroelectric dam that flooded the shores of the lower Xingu River, a tributary to the Amazon River. For one delegate, the leader of the Juruna tribe, the monster represented a more recent perceived threat to the communities living near those shorelines — a Canadian mining company by the name of Belo Sun. Continue Reading →

Baffinland ‘must significantly change its approach,’ Qamaniq says – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – November 7, 2019)


With public hearings for Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed expansion of its Mary River mine taking place in Iqaluit, Tununiq MLA David Qaminiq told his colleagues in the legislative assembly that the mining company has more work to do to gain the trust of Inuit.

He suggested on Wednesday that the company should have been more forthcoming about its full plans from its early days.

“Rather than providing a complete picture of the full scope of the project and its ultimate impact on the region, the incremental or ‘phased’ approach to requesting change after change after change has only served to cause confusion and frustration,” said Qaminiq. Continue Reading →

B.C. should demand miners pay cleanup costs up front: Indigenous study (Canadian Press/CTV News – November 7, 2019)

VANCOUVER — A report is urging British Columbia to get better financial guarantees that mining companies will pay for the mess they make. The First Nations who commissioned the study say that if the government doesn’t do it, they will.

“There’s clearly a recognition by the government and the courts that we have ownership and lands and we have jurisdiction and authority,” said Allen Edzerza of the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council. “What this report is suggesting is that maybe they should exercise some of that authority.”

The province is reviewing the rules by which it ensures that taxpayers aren’t stuck with the costs of cleaning up or caring for abandoned mines. The report points to several recent examples of the government being left to pay the costs, including at least $500,000 at one old gold mine. Continue Reading →

Baffinland blasted for its approach to community consultations – by Elaine Anselmi (Nunatsiaq News – November 6, 2019)

Pond Inlet resident Tim Anaviapik Soucie says the problems with Baffinland’s approach to community consultation for its plans to expand its Mary River mine were evident from the moment chairs were set up in the room.

“Lining people up in chairs to talk to us tells us who is important and who is in charge,” Soucie told the Nunavut Impact Review Board during its hearing in Iqaluit on Tuesday, Nov. 5. “Circles do away with this.”

Soucie described Baffinland’s team arriving in town with a PowerPoint presentation that celebrated their achievements and work so far, and then asked if there were any questions. “This is not consultation,” he said. Continue Reading →


THUNDER BAY, ON: – Today, the Chiefs of the nine Matawa First Nations (MFN) released the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s newly proposed legislation, Bill 132 Better for People, Smarter for Business Act tabled on Monday, October 28, 2019 during the 1st session of the 42nd legislature of the Ontario Legislative Assembly by the Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

“The proposed Better for People, Smarter for Business Act is deeply problematic for the Matawa Chiefs for a number of reasons. Notwithstanding the fact that the proposed bill, in its current omnibus form, covers a number of diverse and unrelated topics that were not brought forward in advance publicly for consultation, debate and scrutiny—we oppose the proposed amendments in relation to the Ontario Mining Act as they impact on our pre-existing inherent rights embodied in our jurisdiction and also protected by 35(1) of the Canada Constitution Act, 1982.

As the 4th annual Treaties Recognition Week is celebrated this week in the province, the proposed Better for People, Smarter for Business is a move to diminish these rights and instead prioritizes the interests of business and the economy. Continue Reading →

Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest – by Jon Lee Anderson (The New Yorker – November 4, 2019)

Indigenous people and illegal miners are engaged in a fight that may help decide the future of the planet.

One day in 2014, Belém, a member of Brazil’s Kayapo tribe, went deep into the forest to hunt macaws and parrots. He was helping to prepare for a coming-of-age ceremony, in which young men are given adult names and have their lips pierced. By custom, initiates wear headdresses adorned with tail feathers. Belém, whose Kayapo name is Takaktyx, an honorific form of the word “strong,” was a designated bird hunter.

Far from his home village of Turedjam, Belém ran across a group of white outsiders. They were garimpeiros, gold prospectors, who were working inside the Kayapo reserve—a twenty-six-million-acre Amazonian wilderness, demarcated for indigenous people.

Gold mining is illegal there, but the prospectors were accompanied by a Kayapo man, so Belém assumed that some arrangement had been made. About nine thousand Kayapo lived in the forest, split into several groups; each had its own chief, and the chiefs tended to do as they pleased. Continue Reading →

Ontario wants out of historic lawsuit – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star/North Bay Nugget – November 6, 2019)

Judge to rule on whether province should pay annuities to First Nations in northeastern Ontario

A Sudbury judge is being asked to determine whether the province should be on the hook for annuity payments owed to First Nations in northeastern Ontario.

Superior Court Justice Patricia Hennessy has reserved her decision on this and other legal issues following nine days of hearings in Sudbury last month in her historic ruling involving the 21 First Nations that are part of the Robinson-Huron Treaty.

In December, Hennessy ruled the First Nations should have received increased annuity payments under the Robinson-Huron Treaty that was signed in 1850. Continue Reading →

Baffinland’s Inuit landlord won’t support Mary River expansion – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – November 4, 2019)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which controls most of the land occupied by the Mary River iron mine, refuses to endorse or support the mine owner’s railway-based expansion proposal, says the organization’s president, P.J. Akeeagok.

Following a special board meeting held on Oct. 30, the QIA dropped this bombshell declaration into the hands of the Nunavut Impact Review Board in the form of a letter on Nov. 1, just before the start of the review board’s final public hearing in Iqaluit on Baffinland’s phase two expansion proposal on Nov. 2.

At their special meeting, QIA board members voted unanimously to take that position, Akeeagok’s letter said. “Many of QIA’s environmental and cultural concerns regarding Baffinland’s Phase 2 proposal have not been adequately resolved. We are also concerned that there are issues raised by impacted communities that have not yet been addressed,” QIA said. Continue Reading →

Ontario renewed funding push for Ring of Fire roads as viability of venture questioned – by Niall McGee and Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – November 4, 2019)

The Ontario government appealed to Ottawa this summer to split a $1.6-billion construction bill for roads into the Ring of Fire region, despite mounting evidence the minerals project in the province’s North isn’t economically viable.

Documents reviewed by The Globe and Mail show that Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, sent an e-mail in July to a number of federal ministers asking for Ottawa to kick in as much as $779-million to roughly match Ontario’s contribution.

As part of his business case for investing in the Ring of Fire, Mr. Rickford referenced a number of often-cited huge financial projections about the project that have no supporting evidence. Continue Reading →

Indigenous Canadians want natural resources development — why aren’t we being heard? – by Dale Swampy (Financial Post – November 1, 2019)

Opinion: Do not deny us our opportunity for well-being and prosperity simply to serve your stereotypes of what Indigenous peoples should be for and against

Many Canadians have a one-dimensional understanding of Indigenous cultural, political and economic realities, based on the stories they see and hear in the mainstream media and the messages they get from politicians.

We are often portrayed as a homogenous group with common interests, opinions and needs. One story that always gets attention is of Indigenous Canadians as victims of industry, protesting pipelines and other resource developments as they cross our territories.

The truth is, the vast majority of Indigenous communities in Canada are engaged in natural resource development, and on terms that we agree to. Indigenous communities have entered into over 450 agreements with mining companies since 2000, and 58 per cent have a contract or agreement with a forestry company. Continue Reading →

Indigenous: Legal playing field tilted against First Nations in resource development battles, says new report – by Jorge Barrera (CBC News Indigenous – October 29, 2019)

Canada’s legal landscape continues to be heavily in favour of corporations when it comes to court injunctions during conflicts with First Nations over resource development, according to a report released Tuesday by an Indigenous-led think-tank.

The report by the Yellowhead Institute, based out of Ryerson University in Toronto, says corporations are vastly more successful than First Nations in obtaining injunctions. The report, called Land Back: a Yellowhead Institute Red Paper, delves into the ongoing struggle between Canada and First Nations over lands and resources.

The most recent conflicts have played out in court cases around the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project and the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project in northern B.C. earlier this year. Continue Reading →

British Columbia Indigenous rights bill should not be a problem for miners: industry group – by Staff ( – October 28, 2019)

The Association for Mineral Exploration or AME, a Vancouver-based industry group, issued a communiqué stating that the sector expects “minimal immediate change” following the introduction of the new BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Last week, the government of British Columbia in the figure of Premier John Horgan tabled Bill 41 on First Nations rights in the legislature. If passed, BC will be the first province in the country to legally implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This means that Indigenous peoples will be included in all decision-making that impacts their rights and that all provincial laws would have to be aligned with the standards of the UN declaration. Continue Reading →

The road to nowhere: Claims Ontario’s Ring of Fire is worth $60-billion are nonsense – by Niall McGee and Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – October 26, 2019)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has talking points he’s fond of repeating – over and over again – and one of his favourites is a pledge to build a billion-dollar road to a boggy, remote region of Northern Ontario known as the Ring of Fire.

When asked about the promise by a reporter at a plowing match in September, Mr. Ford repeated almost verbatim an infamous tweet from last year’s provincial election campaign: “If I have to hop on a bulldozer myself, we’re going to start building roads to the Ring of Fire.”

“You’re going to see me on that bulldozer,” Mr. Ford declared, with a confident chuckle. The declaration by the Ontario premier is just one example of the big talk over the past decade by politicians of all stripes about the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Thunder Bay: the pain, the opportunity, and the newspaper – by Michael Atkins (Northern Ontario Business – October 1, 2019)

This is about people, about poverty, about sharing a land and its resources, about the clash or the fusion of cultures in the North and building sustainability for our children.

Eight months ago, the Globe and Mail newspaper opened a bureau in Thunder Bay. They did so because, in December, 2018, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), a civilian oversight agency, concluded that the Thunder Bay Police Service was tainted by racist attitudes towards Indigenous people. The report was called “Broken Trust.”

A few days later, Senator Murray Sinclair, the former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, submitted a report that accused the Thunder Bay Police Services Board of willful blindness to racism.

There have been unsettling examples of racism beyond the occurrence of nine sudden-death investigations by Thunder Bay police, which have been described as problematic. One of the most graphic was the throwing of a trailer hitch from a passing pickup truck at two Indigenous women walking along a residential street. One died six weeks later. Continue Reading →

Timmins feels door still open for ferrochrome plant – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – October 18, 2019)

Mayor George Pirie remains confident Timmins will ultimately be the location of the ferrochrome processing facility which Noront Resources awarded to Sault Ste. Marie earlier this year.

“I still have the same opinion (as he had in May when Noront made it announcement) we’re going to get it,” said Pirie, shortly before Friday’s start of the annual general meeting of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation.” It won’t get built in Sault Ste. Marie.

“They haven’t done the consultations with the right Indigenous groups. You can see the fact that they don’t have the right area set up for the product and the tailings facilities — we do. Continue Reading →