Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Supreme Court dismisses B.C. case against Trans Mountain pipeline – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – January 17, 2020)

Outcome resolves one of the last court challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project

CALGARY – The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously rejected British Columbia’s move to regulate the flow of heavy oil across its borders, resolving one of the last court challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

After all-day hearings Thursday, Supreme Court justices dismissed B.C.’s appeal of a lower court decision, which found that interprovincial trade is federal jurisdiction and the flow of commodities such as heavy oil and bitumen should be overseen by federal regulators.

“We are all of the view to dismiss the appeal for the unanimous reasons of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia,” Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner said from the bench after dozens of lawyers from across the country presented arguments. Continue Reading →

Will B.C.’s new UNDRIP law block the province’s natural gas megaproject? Good question – Editorial (Globe and Mail – January 16, 2020)

In the Canadian Venn diagram of Indigenous reconciliation, resource development and climate change, British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline lands smack in the hot centre of three political issues.

After a long period of debate and negotiation, major construction on the pipeline is set to begin this summer. There may, however, be one final roadblock: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

B.C. last year became the first province to enshrine UNDRIP into law. At the federal level, the Trudeau government plans to do the same. That is even though it remains unclear exactly what UNDRIP means, and how it may change Canadian law. The document pledges governments to secure the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous people in a number of situations, including before giving the green light to resource projects. Continue Reading →

Nunavut review board seeks comments on Baffinland production extension (Nunatsiaq News – January 14, 2020)

The Nunavut Impact Review Board is accepting comments on Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s request to extend its production limit at its Mary River mine.

The board issued a call for comments from interested parties on Jan. 8. Comments will be accepted until Feb. 3. Baffinland requested this extension, to continue mining up to six million tonnes of iron ore per year through 2020, on Dec. 16.

This follows a production cap increase granted in 2018, up from the 4.2-million-tonne cap set in the project certificate amendment that allowed trucked shipping to Milne Inlet under the company’s “early revenue phase.” That two-year production cap expired on Dec. 31, 2019. Continue Reading →

Organization gearing up to promote Indigenous-mining relationships – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – January 14, 2020)

Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development will be based in Sudbury

Dawn Madahbee Leach is hopeful that a newly forged partnership between Waubetek Business Development Corp. and Rio Tinto will be just the first of many positive working relationships between Indigenous people and the mining industry.

In November, the global mining giant announced it would invest $1 million over five years into Waubetek’s Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development, which is being established in Northern Ontario.

“Our partnership aims to grow the opportunity for Indigenous communities to participate in a meaningful way in the benefits that can come from responsible mineral development,” said Simone Niven, Rio Tinto’s group executive of corporate relations, in a Nov. 27 news release announcing the partnership. Continue Reading →

Court sides with environmental groups in ongoing De Beers lawsuit – by Elena De Luigi (Timmins Press – January 13, 2020)

“There needs to be accountability. We need our regulators to step up and do their job.”

The courts have ruled in favour of an environmental group that accused De Beers Canada of allegedly failing to report mercury monitoring data collected at the Victor Diamond Mine to the provincial regulator. The Victor Diamond Mine is located on wetlands along the Attawapiskat River near Attawapiskat First Nation on the James Bay Coast.

Timmins provincial court Justice David A. Thomas granted the appeal made by Trevor Hesselink, the director of Wildlands League, the non-profit organization that accused De Beers in 2015 of breaching a section of the Ontario Water Resources Act on an ongoing basis between June 2009 and July 2016.

Hesselink alleged DeBeers failed to self-monitor and report on the mine’s “effluent discharge,” specifically the levels of mercury and methyl mercury seeping into the Attawapiskat River. Continue Reading →

Where will new Indigenous rights lead? – by James Baillie (Financial Post – January 14, 2020)

Opinion: We should strive for an emboldened Indigenous people, freed from the adverse consequences of their mistreatment and able to make their way as equal citizens

Terence Corcoran’s article on Jan. 8 about Canadian adoption of UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) came as a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere thick with praise for UNDRIP’s espousal of a vast expansion of the legal rights of Indigenous peoples. Even so, it underestimates the likely impact of UNDRIP, especially in the context of a more general expansion of Indigenous rights.

The need for aggressive action to remedy historic wrongs to Indigenous people is well-recognized. Health care, housing, education, child welfare, adequate law enforcement — all these and still other aspects of life require urgent attention. Fortunately, in recent years remedial actions have been initiated. They should continue, urgently.

UNDRIP evolved in the United Nations as one initiative to strengthen the position of Indigenous people. It is a wide-ranging document, clearly intended to provide bulwarks protecting all aspects of Indigenous society. Continue Reading →

EBERHARD (EBE) SCHERKUS (Born – 1952) – 2020 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website:

The remarkable success and longevity of Agnico Eagle Mines owes much to Eberhard (“Ebe”) Scherkus, a multi-faceted geologist and professional engineer with an impressive track record of achievement. He joined the company as a project manager in 1985, became chief operating officer (COO) in 1998, and was president and COO from 2005 until he retired in 2012.

During this period he transformed Agnico Eagle from a regional single-mine company into a top-performing global gold producer with nine mines in Canada, Finland and Mexico. He also earned a reputation as a generous career mentor, environmentally responsible industry leader, and a builder of bridges with Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders in Canada and abroad.

Born in Germany, Scherkus came to Canada as an infant and was raised in Val-d’Or, Quebec. He earned his B.Sc. Geology from McGill University in 1975, and worked for several companies before joining Agnico Eagle. The company was then headed by legendary founder Paul Penna, who needed a technical team to turn around a struggling, low-grade open-pit mine with limited reserves. Continue Reading →

P. JERRY ASP (Born 1948) – 2020 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame was conceived by the late Maurice R. Brown, former editor and publisher of The Northern Miner, as a way to recognize and honour the legendary mine finders and builders of a great Canadian industry. The Hall was established in 1988. For more information about the extraordinary individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, please go to their home website:

P. Jerry Asp is one of Western Canada’s most prominent Indigenous leaders and a tireless advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the mining industry. His leadership skills came to the fore in the 1980s, during a mineral exploration and mining boom in the “Golden Triangle” of northwestern British Columbia.

As a chief and member of the Tahltan Nation, he understood his community’s concerns about development taking place on their traditional lands. Yet having worked in the mining industry since 1965, he also recognized the potential for employment and business opportunities and to build skills and capacity in the community.

In 1985, Asp founded the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) as GM and became President in 1987. His goal was to negotiate partnerships between TNDC and mining companies, starting with the Golden Bear mine, which required a 100-mile access road across Tahltan territory. The concept of an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) was new at the time, but Asp negotiated the first IBA in the Province’s history, which included road construction and other contracts at Golden Bear. Continue Reading →

Torn loyalties over the future of Wet’suwet’en amid blockade against GasLink – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – January 13, 2020)

Russell and Elsie Tiljoe have deep roots in the Wet’suwet’en Nation and worry about the growing divisions between hereditary chiefs who oppose Coastal GasLink’s $6.6-billion pipeline project and elected band councillors who support it.

Mr. Tiljoe, 83, and his 82-year-old wife, Elsie, say on-reserve residents stand to benefit from jobs created by construction of the natural-gas pipeline.

But the Indigenous elders also respect the Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary house groups, which claim authority in northern British Columbia over their traditional territory located outside federal reserves. Continue Reading →

Brazil Plans to Allow Mining in Amazonian Indigenous Reserves – by Simone Iglesias and Martha Beck (Bloomberg News – January 10, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Brazil is pushing ahead with plans to allow mining in the indigenous reserves of the Amazon rain forest and will send a bill to Congress later this month to regulate the activity, according to the country’s minister for mines and energy.

The Brazilian constitution permits the extraction of raw materials from the reserves but a lack of regulation has resulted in widespread wildcat mining across the region, Bento Albuquerque, a Navy admiral, told Bloomberg News in an interview in Brasilia.

“A majority of the 600 indigenous communities want this,” he said, adding that they would be compensated for the economic exploitation of their lands. “Nothing is more damaging to the environment than illegal activity.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: B.C.’s gas-pipeline protest will end in a whimper, not a bang – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – January 10, 2020)

While uncertainty surrounds the final outcome of a blockade that has halted construction of an important natural gas pipeline in northern B.C., be assured that the protest by a small group of Indigenous leaders and environmental activists has zero chance of jeopardizing completion of the project.

There is simply too much at stake, not the least of which is Canada’s international reputation for resource development – which is not great as it is.

The rest of Canada has become inured to environmental confrontations in British Columbia. There is a long, sharp history of them, one that continues to shape the nature and scope of the crusades we are witnessing today. They have become intertwined more recently with court decisions that have handed Indigenous groups more power than they’ve ever known. Continue Reading →

RCMP seeking to resolve Coastal GasLink pipeline crisis without resorting to ‘police enforcement’ – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – January 8, 2020)

CALGARY – Senior RCMP officers are in contact with First Nations protestors opposed to the $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline, trying to negotiate a way for construction work on the natural gas pipeline to resume in north-central British Columbia.

“Or priority is to engage with CGL, Indigenous communities and government to facilitate a resolution without police enforcement,” RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said in an emailed statement, adding that the force’s senior commander “has already been in direct contact with representatives of all these stakeholder groups, including the Hereditary Chiefs.”

Over the weekend, a breakaway group of hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs that oppose the natural gas pipeline asked the RCMP to “refrain from interference” in the dispute over the project that will link gas fields near Dawson Creek to the $40-billion LNG Canada export project in the coastal community of Kitimat. Continue Reading →

The Trudeau Liberals will have to live with being in breach of a UN declaration they should never have adopted – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – January 8, 2020)

According to an ancient political proverb, governments that pander to the globalist sword fighters at the United Nations run a grave risk of getting their policy necks lopped off. And so, as prophesied, that object now rolling across the Canadian West toward Ottawa is the Trudeau government’s self-righteous 2016 decision to wrap its arms around UNDRIP — the 2007 United Nations United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

With Canada now signed on to the United Nations’ feel-good indigenous agenda, UN operatives are back and claiming, as is their practice, that Canada is failing to live up to the full meaning of the declaration, which among other things requires Ottawa and the provinces receive full agreement from Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development.

Through a subgroup called the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the UN has drafted a two-page decision calling on Canada to “immediately cease” construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, to “immediately suspend” construction on the Site C dam in British Columbia and to “immediately halt” all work on the Coastal Gas Link LNG pipeline. Continue Reading →

Coastal GasLink halts construction after access road is blocked – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – January 6, 2020)

TC Energy Corp. will be forced to halt construction on a section of its $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline this week amid an escalating dispute with Indigenous hereditary chiefs.

Construction workers, who have been away on holidays, are scheduled to return to the area on Monday, but won’t be able to gain access because of a blockage along a remote logging road.

On Dec. 31, a B.C. Supreme Court judge extended an injunction against Coastal GasLink protesters, saying the project has been harmed by the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s blockades. But hereditary house chiefs disagree with the court ruling and in an attempt to turn the tables, they issued their own “eviction notice” on Saturday on the Wet’suwet’en’s unceded territory near Houston, B.C. Continue Reading →

Agnico CEO Sean Boyd on succession planning, investing in the North, and working in -79C wind chill – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 2, 2020)

Whoever assumes the top executive spot at Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will have a tough act to follow. Sean Boyd, 61, is by far the longest-serving senior gold executive in Canada – and arguably the most successful.

An accountant by training, Mr. Boyd was originally the company’s outside auditor, then its chief financial officer and, after the death of company founder Paul Penna, he became its chief executive in 1998.

In the two decades since, the Toronto-based miner has grown from being a small producer with a single mine in Quebec, into the world’s third-most-valuable gold company, with nine mines in three countries. Its share price has gone from $6 to $80. Continue Reading →