Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

[Yukon Mining] Coffee Gold project prepares for 2021, with support of Tr’ondek Hwech’in – by Philippe Morin (CBC News Canada North – September 13, 2018)

First Nation says Coffee Gold owner Goldcorp is hearing its concerns

Leaders from Yukon’s Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation got a tour of Goldcorp’s Coffee Gold project near Dawson City this week — and so far, they like what they’ve seen. The exploration camp at Coffee Creek, about 130 kilometres south of Dawson City, is a busy place these days, with crews already working in shifts 24-hours a day.

In a few years, it could be even busier — Goldcorp is proposing to open a large-scale gold mine by 2021, employing hundreds of people. The project is still under review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB).

The Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation is now on board with the project. Last April, it signed a “collaboration agreement” with Goldcorp, which includes a number of benefits for the First Nation — such as jobs, contracts, and training for First Nation citizens. Continue Reading →

We are First Nations that support pipelines, when pipelines support First Nations – by Stephen Buffalo (Financial Post – September 12, 2018)

Stephen Buffalo is president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council.

The reaction to the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline has been near hysterical — and for good reason. The stoppage of the pipeline project, the best-studied project in Canadian history and one with substantial Indigenous support, has people speaking with despair about the future of the oil and gas industry in the country, the now-diminished prospects for future development, and even the fragility of Canadian federalism.

First Nations peoples who support the pipeline — and there are many — agree that the situation is dire, but we see more than a few reasons for optimism in the midst of the anxiety.

The debate over the pipeline expansion has forced First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada to think very hard about where oil and gas development and infrastructure projects fit into their economic and environmental futures. Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain decision proves Canada a G7 country at war with itself – by Bill Gallagher (The Lawyer’s Daily – September 6, 2018)

This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily (, part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.

An authority on the rise of Indigenous empowerment in Canada’s resources sector, Bill Gallagher has been a corporate lawyer in Calgary, an energy regulator in Ottawa, and a treaty negotiator on the prairies. His latest book Resource Reckoning was published in early September. Contact him at [email protected]

It would appear that lightning does strike twice! Having already killed one approved pipeline (Northern Gateway) backed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, now Indigenous groups have done it again to a pipeline backed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Northern Gateway was Indigenous legal win No. 231, and this one is Indigenous legal win No. 264. I called the former win the “high water mark” of Indigenous empowerment, since Northern Gateway was a fully
approved project championed by Harper’s entire front bench. It went down in flames in mid-2016. Now, just two years later, Indigenous groups make killing a pipeline look routine.

It looks bad on Trudeau, because he had campaigned on deriding Harper’s handling of the duty to consult — now he gets to eat crow. His order-in-council has just been quashed (like Harper’s). Continue Reading →

First Nations consent and environmental impact dominate concerns at Ring of Fire demonstration on Ramsey Lake Road – by Allana McDougall (Sudbury Northern Life – September 7, 2018)

The three-hour long demonstration that took place at the intersection leading to Sudbury’s university campuses on Ramsey Lake Road stopped traffic for just three minutes.

Two round dances were scheduled to take place. One at 10 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.; only the 11 a.m. round dance occurred. Greater Sudbury Police Services was present at that time to direct right-turning traffic and to ensure the safety of those who participated. Left-turning traffic was not able to proceed.

Organizer Bruce McComber said that he’s been a part of a broad network of activists, scientists and environmentalists for almost ten years. According to him, that network has been trying to force the government and corporations to provide more thorough environmental assessments and pay better taxes, among other things. For him, opposition to the project includes acknowledgement of issues that precede development. Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain court decision a key recognition of treaty rights – by Douglas Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 1, 2018)

It’s been described as a win for the environment, or as a blow to the economy. In the end, the B.C. Federal Court of Appeal couldn’t ignore section 35 of the Canadian constitution.

Section 35 is the clause that recognizes and affirms treaty and Aboriginal rights. This section is becoming increasingly important when it comes to resource development. It may well be the way out of our impoverished position within Canada and place us on an even playing field with the provinces.

Several First Nations launched a case calling for a judicial review of the federal process to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports Alberta crude oil to the west coast. They were later joined by the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver as well as the government of British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Court ruling was a win for rule of law and therefore a win for Trans Mountain – by Andrew Coyne (National Post – September 6, 2018)

Since last week’s Federal Court of Appeal decision halting construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, the federal government has been inundated with unsolicited advice on what to do next.

The proposed responses have ranged from the uninformed (invoke the notwithstanding clause, which simply does not apply) to the unhelpful (appeal the decision, which would delay the project by months or years, with no assurance of a different outcome) to the undefined (pass a law limiting its implications in some way, which might or might not be helpful but would itself be subject to judicial review).

The prime minister at first derided such “legislative tricks” Wednesday but later suggested he was keeping all options open. And yet the most promising response remains the one he first appeared to favour: follow the course the court prescribed. Continue Reading →

What’s the plan for the Ring of Fire?: Exit of province’s lead negotiator has Matawa chiefs waiting on Ford government’s next move – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 5, 2018)

The elimination of the province’s main negotiator in the Ring of Fire consultation process has the head of a northwestern Ontario First Nation tribal council waiting on the Ford government and Northern Ontario cabinet minister Greg Rickford to make the next move.

A Toronto media report claimed Justice Frank Iacobucci was axed by the Ford government in a purge of former government officials appointed under the previous Wynne government.

Iacobucci represented the province in the Regional Framework Agreement process initiated by the Wynne government in April 2014. David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of Matawa First Nations Management, representing the nine Matawa First Nations, had a wait-and-see response in a statement released Sept. 5. Continue Reading →

Environmental permitting needs more flexibility, says Yukon placer miner – by Dave Croft (CBC News Canada North – September 4, 2018)

Stuart Schmidt says the adversarial nature of the permitting process is dividing Yukoners

A longtime Yukon placer miner says the territory’s environmental regulations are dividing Yukoners when they should be building bridges.

Stuart Schmidt is reacting to concerns about placer mining’s effects on wetlands in the Indian River and its tributaries, about 30 kilometres south of Dawson City.

The Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation is asking the Yukon Water Board to hold a public hearing about mining on undisturbed wetlands in the Indian River valley. The request is part of an intervention on 5582 Yukon Ltd.’s application for water and land use approvals on hundreds of claims. Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: The problem isn’t the pipeline, it’s the way it was approved (Globe and Mail – August 31, 2018)

The Federal Court of Appeal decision quashing cabinet’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a huge political setback for the Trudeau government. That it comes on the heels of the government’s reckless decision to buy the existing pipeline for $4.5-billion only complicates matters.

But it would be a mistake to conclude that Ottawa cannot salvage this snake-bitten project. With the proper response, Canada could end up with both a much-needed pipeline expansion and a clearer set of rules for approving projects of this kind.

At the moment, that probably looks like a long shot. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent a lot of political capital on Trans Mountain and has little to show for it. Continue Reading →

Trudeau said he’d solve pipeline stalemate problem. It’s become a political disaster – by John Ivison (National Post – August 31, 2018)

The decision slaps a large sign on Canada’s resource industry that reads: Closed for Business

The Federal Court of Appeal has spoken clearly for the southern resident killer whales of the Salish Sea, for the First Nations that live along the Pacific Coast and for the environmental activists who run the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby.

The court’s decision to quash the federal cabinet’s construction permits for the Trans Mountain pipeline will be hailed by professional objectors everywhere.

Justice Eleanor Dawson, who wrote the decision, and her colleagues, justices Yves de Montigny and Judith Woods, can take comfort from the fact that their jurisdiction did not extend to considering the thousands of jobs across the country that have been imperilled by the decision — not to mention the deleterious impact it will have on national unity. Continue Reading →

The pessimists have it right, assassins are gunning for Trans Mountain – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – August 31, 2018)

With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening

After narrowly missing an assassination of Margaret Thatcher by bombing her hotel room in Brighton in 1984, the IRA reminded everyone the odds were still on its side. “Remember we only have to be lucky once,” the terrorists warned the then British prime minister. “You will have to be lucky always.”

That in a nutshell has long been the strategy of those fighting against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening. Its builders and their political backers might win a few rounds.

But eventually something would stop them. Maybe Thursday’s federal appeals court decision overturning the National Energy Board’s approval of Trans Mountain is that something. Maybe not. But the project will face many more assassination attempts. And it will have to be lucky enough to survive every one. Continue Reading →

Taseko claims court victory but natives call on B.C. to block New Prosperity – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – August 28, 2018)

In theory, the latest court decision regarding Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity project might have brought some clarity to Canada’s vaguely defined “duty to consult.” But how that plays out in practice remains to be seen.

On August 28 the company stated that last week’s British Columbia Supreme Court decision overrules native objection to an exploration permit. The ruling allows Taseko to collect data that might overcome a 2014 federal environmental rejection for the proposed gold-copper open pit in the province’s south-central area.

Calling the decision “unequivocal,” company president/CEO Russell Hallbauer said it affirmed the province’s “authority to approve resource development work even in the face of aboriginal opposition. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp supports the City’s Indigenous Advisory Committee – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – August 31, 2018)

The largest gold mining company in Timmins is providing financial support to the city’s new Indigenous Advisory Committee. Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines PGM announced on Thursday it would match the support provided by the municipality earlier this year when city council approved $50,000 in funding.

That figure was matched this week with a cheque from Goldcorp PGM for $50,000. “When we heard of the initiative, we jumped in to support it,” said Goldcorp Sustainability Manager Bryan Neeley.

“The contribution will improve the committee’s ability to execute on different initiatives. Our relationship with our Indigenous Partners is a core belief of the company and treating all people with respect regardless of their diversity, is important in the workplace as well as in the community.” Continue Reading →

[Manitoba] Province’s mining protocol might discourage investment if First Nations have veto: prospectors – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – August 30, 2018)

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.” Continue Reading →

Federal Court of Appeal quashes construction approvals for Trans Mountain, leaving project in limbo – John Paul Tasker (CBC News Politics – August 30, 2018)

Indigenous groups had opposed $7.4B project

In a stunning blow, the Federal Court of Appeal has quashed the government’s approvals to build the Trans Mountain expansion project — a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4-billion project.

In the decision released Thursday, and written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found the National Energy Board’s assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016.

The certificate approving construction and operation of the project has been nullified, leaving the project in legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court’s demands. Continue Reading →