Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Taseko Mines seeking court injunction after First Nation members block work at Fish Lake – by Andrea Woo (Globe and Mail – July 4, 2019)

A B.C. mining company is seeking a court injunction after its crew was blocked from beginning work this week on a controversial open-pit mine near Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd., said the company has no other choice but to pursue the authoritative option after members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation blockaded access to the site on Tuesday. “What else can you do but rely on the law?” Mr. Battison said Wednesday.

The roadblock was set up roughly 80 kilometres from the site of the proposed New Prosperity copper and gold mine project, southwest of Williams Lake. When Taseko crews arrived on Tuesday, members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation told them they did not have access to the site. Continue Reading →

Trudeau’s Trans Mountain nightmare could end with indigenous-led $6.9-billion offer for majority stake – by Nia Williams and Rod Nickel (Financial Post/Reuters – July 3, 2019)

A deal ahead of October election could ease criticism over broken promises on the environment and indigenous rights

CALGARY — An indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists.

The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later.

Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others. Continue Reading →

First Nation expects reprieve will be brief after blocking mining company from its territorial lands to protect sacred B.C. lake – by Jesse Winter and Wanyee Li (Toronto Star – July 3, 2019)

TL’ESQOX FIRST NATION—It was just after 6:30 a.m. and Cecil Grinder hadn’t slept. Standing next to a smouldering fire, he watched the trucks approaching from the east.

“I tried to get a few hours sleep, but I just couldn’t,” the Tl’etinqox First Nation councillor said, explaining that he was too nervous. Seventeen-year-old Syles Laceese joined him on the tarmac.

At the junction with Farwell Canyon Road, about 40 minutes outside of Williams Lake, B.C., a white pickup and a tractor-trailer towing a bulldozer slowed to a stop at Grinder’s command amid the rolling hills and cattle ranches of Tsilhqot’in traditional territory. Continue Reading →

British Columbia: Tsilhqot’in Nation plans peaceful action to protect two sacred lakes from mining – by Brenna Owen (CBC News/Canadian Press – July 2, 2019)

The Taseko Mines project west of Williams Lake was approved by the province in 2010

A First Nation in British Columbia’s western Interior says its members intend to peacefully take action to protect two lakes with cultural and spiritual significance from drilling by a mining company.

According to a release from the Tsilhqot’in Nation in Williams Lake, Taseko Mines Ltd. sent a notice on June 27 indicating it would begin using heavy equipment such as logging and road-clearing equipment starting Tuesday.

The company says the drilling and related activities are an attempt to prove the lakes will not be harmed by its so-called New Prosperity Project, a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine west of Williams Lake. Continue Reading →

A partisan divide: Uranium mining’s toxic legacy or essential national security – by Miranda Faulkner (Cronkite News/News Maven – June 26, 2019)

WASHINGTON – Tribal members, environmentalists and lawmakers told a House panel Tuesday that including uranium on a list of “critical minerals” opens the door to expedited mining that will put tribal lands and national parks at risk.

They were responding to a Trump administration announcement earlier this month that directed the government to locate uranium and expedite permits for its mining as one of dozens of minerals considered essential for the country’s economic and national security.

But witnesses told a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Tuesday that the administration plan does not take into consideration the public and environmental health risks that come with mining, especially uranium, which has a “toxic legacy” of polluting communities where it has been mined. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Road to resources a northern priority (Yellowknifer – June 20, 2019)

Diamond mines are the bloodstream for the NWT and Yellowknife, a source of economic vitality in the wake of the gold rush that birthed this city in the first place.

For most of the community’s history, the main reason people have come here has been to make a living off the rocks. The Earth’s many valuable ores have supported abundant mining jobs for generations.

And one miner’s job generates many others in this thriving town: schoolteachers, shopkeepers, doctors and nurses. But the mines, and the city and the jobs, are in trouble. Continue Reading →

Controversial bills C-69 and C-48 to become law, one day after Senate enforces Arctic offshore oil ban – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – June 21, 2019)

OTTAWA — The Senate passed into law two controversial natural resource bills Thursday evening, just one day after it quietly passed a third bill that reinforced a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Canadian Arctic, quashing any future oil and gas development in the region.

Bill C-48, which would legally enforce a moratorium on oil tankers in northern B.C., is now set to receive royal assent after it was accepted at third reading in the Senate late Thursday.

Bill C-69, which would overhaul the environmental review process for major projects, also passed a third reading. Their passage enshrines the bills in Canadian law, ending more than a year of fierce opposition from the natural resources sector and some provinces. “This phase of the battle is over,” Independent Sen. Doug Black, who was opposed to C-69, said in a final speech before the final vote on the bill. Continue Reading →

[Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.] Mining company marks Nunavut opening with $1-million donation (Nunatsiaq News – June 20, 2019)

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. celebrated the launch of its new Nunavut gold mine with a community feast and the gift of $1 million to two non-profit organizations.

The company’s Meliadine gold mine, located about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, started commercial production last month.

To mark the occasion, Agnico Eagle hosted an event at Rankin Inlet’s community hall on Wednesday, June 19, enticing residents with hot air balloon rides and a chance to hold a bar of gold. Continue Reading →

Baffinland’s expanded shipping proposal raises concerns at Iqaluit meeting – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – June 19, 2019)

To help protect the area’s fish, birds, marine mammals and people, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. should meet a “gold standard” when shipping from its north Baffin iron mine, delegates said during the second day of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s three-day technical meeting on the company’s $900-million proposal to expand its Mary River mine.

After sessions looking at the use of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and cumulative effects assessments on Monday, attention on Tuesday turned largely to ice-breaking and shipping.

Baffinland plans to ship out 12 million tonnes of ore annually, increasing that amount later to 30 million tonnes. Several of the Inuit representatives around the table in Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall told how Baffinland’s shipping is already having an impact. Continue Reading →

Keynote Speech by former NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno (December 4, 2014)

Harvey Yesno was just elected the new Chief of Eabametoong First Nation on June 17, 2019. Eabametoong is the largest isolated community in the Ring of Fire with an on-reserve population of roughly 1,500 people.

This speech was written for the 8th Annual Aboriginal Energy Forum – December 4, 2014. While a bit dated, many of the issues are still relevant today and it gives a terrific overview of the many challenges First Nations face in the isolated region of Northwestern Ontario. – Stan Sudol

Good afternoon.

First of all, thank you for inviting me to speak at this 8th Annual Aboriginal Energy Forum. I want to acknowledge the traditional territory of the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, Chiefs, Elders and participants. I also want to thank the conference organizers for inviting me to speak to you.

Today we come together in a forum where we can share and learn from each other. It is an opportunity for everyone here to broaden their understanding of energy issues affecting all of us, make connections and share valuable information.

It is my belief, that in order for any one of our First Nations to succeed in achieving the maximum benefits from energy development, we will need to share our knowledge and our experience with each other. Continue Reading →

British Columbia: Supreme Court rejects Tsilhqot’in appeal in Taseko mine case (Canadian Press/CBC News British Columbia – June 14, 2019)

The Tsilhqot’in Nation calls mine exploration a violation of human rights

The Tsilhqot’in Nation says it will continue to protect what it considers a sacred lake in the central Interior despite a blow from Canada’s top court.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a B.C .court ruling allowing Taseko Mine Limited (TML) to proceed with exploratory drilling around Fish Lake — also known as Teztan Biny.

The permit allows TML to proceed with an extensive drilling project that authorizes 76 kilometres of new or modified road and trail to be cleared, along with 122 drill holes, 367 excavated test pits and 20 kilometres of seismic lines near Teztan Biny. Continue Reading →

First Nations push for massive conservation area in northern B.C. – by Laura Kane (Canadian Press/CTV News – June 12, 2019)

LOWER POST, B.C. – First Nations in northern British Columbia are calling on the provincial government to endorse an ambitious proposal for a 40,000-square-kilometre conservation area to protect major watersheds and sensitive species.

The proposal would cover the ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations and would be larger than Vancouver Island, taking up a massive section of north-central B.C.

Premier John Horgan’s government hasn’t said whether it supports or opposes the idea after seven months of phone calls, letters and meetings with officials from various ministries, say the project’s proponents. Continue Reading →

OPINION: For some First Nations, pipelines can be a lifeline – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – June 13, 2019)

Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute. He is the author of the newly released report, How First Nations Benefit from Pipeline Construction for the Fraser Institute.

On June 18, when the federal cabinet discusses whether to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline, they should bear in mind the real interests and opinions of many First Nations. The highly visible opposition of some British Columbia First Nations to pipeline construction has created the impression that all Indigenous people are opposed.

That impression, however, is false. Forty-three First Nations and other Indigenous groups support Trans Mountain, while only 12 signalled their opposition in the Tsleil-Waututh litigation on the project.

Apart from the clan leaders of the Wet’suwet’en, 20 First Nations along the route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which has been planned to feed LNG exports from Kitimat, endorse that proposal. Continue Reading →

New discovery at Gahcho Kué mine could be good news for N.W.T., company bottom line – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – June 12, 2019)

The discovery of a new kimberlite pipe at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine could be good news for Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers Canada, the co-owners of the mine, and for the Northwest Territories.

The diamond bearing, underground rock — named the Wilson kimberlite after Alice Evelyn Wilson, Canada’s first female geologist — is the first kimberlite discovery at Gahcho Kué in 20 years.

It is too soon to say if the new discovery will prove to be economically viable, but Mountain Province CEO Stuart Brown says drill sample results are promising. Continue Reading →

‘Too many’ maps slow return of Indonesia’s indigenous land – by Rina Chandran (Reuters U.S. – June 13, 2019)

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A pledge by Indonesia to hand back control of customary forests to indigenous people is being hampered by overlapping land claims for mines, plantations, forests and public land in the country, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo had vowed to return 12.7 million hectares (31 million acres) of land to indigenous people following a historic 2013 court ruling to lift state control of customary forests.

Rights to about 1.9 million hectares of forest land had been handed over by 2017, but land rights activists said the process was slow, and the government had refused to recognize a map of customary land prepared by indigenous rights group AMAN. Continue Reading →