Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Mining project near Moosonee on hold until consultation done, company says (CBC News Sudbury – April 9, 2019)

Election for new chief and council set for July 2

A company that wants to mine niobium south of Moosonee says exploration is at a standstill until consultation happens with the chief and council of Moose Cree First Nation.

However, a new chief and council won’t be elected until July 2. An interim committee has been governing the community since nine councillors resigned, triggering dissolution of council last month.

NioBay president Claude Dufresne says the former chief is against the project, adding the community has filed a judicial review of the government’s decision to issue an exploration permit. “The judicial review doesn’t prevent us from accessing the land or doing the drilling program,” he said. Continue Reading →


THUNDER BAY, ON: Responding to a February 25, 2019 Government of Ontario announcement proposing to repeal the Far North Act, 2010—the Matawa Chiefs Council offered the following statement:

“The Matawa Chiefs Council is opposed to any unilateral legislative change that will have an impact on the Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of Matawa First Nations protected and affirmed under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; that includes repealing the Far North Act, 2010 and proposed amendments process for the Public Lands Act, 1990 as the basis of Land Use Planning and implementation of our Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Matawa Chiefs Council reject the Ontario government’s proposal to repeal the Far North Act, 2010.

The proposal will have a high-level of impact on the Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of Matawa First Nations and our members, and a permanent impact on our future generations. Continue Reading →

Brazil tribal lands under new threat from farmers, miners – by Bruno Kelly and Sergio Queiroz (Reuters Canada – April 8, 2019)

RAPOSA SERRA DO SOL, Brazil (Reuters) – A decade after the Macuxi people won a bloody legal battle to expel rice planters from their reservation in a remote part of Brazil, their hold over ancestral lands has come under threat again from new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

The sprawling 1.7 million hectares (6,600 square miles) of savannah on the border with Venezuela — a reservation called Raposa Serra do Sol — is home to 25,000 native people whose main livelihood is raising cattle.

But the land remains coveted by commercial farmers and mining prospectors who believe the area is rich in minerals such as gold, diamonds, copper, molybdenum, bauxite and even niobium, a metal used to strengthen steel that Bolsonaro considers “strategic.” Continue Reading →

Panelists at Nunavut Mining Symposium want link to Canada’s road system – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 2, 2019)

Governments of NWT and Nunavut and Inuit orgs united in call for North-South road connection

At the Nunavut Mining Symposium, now underway in Iqaluit, you don’t have to look far to find supporters of a road linking Nunavut to the Northwest Territories or Manitoba, to reduce the North’s dependence on marine transportation and satellite telecommunications.

At a Monday morning panel session called, “Maybe the resources are the road?,” the Northwest Territories’ industry minister, Wally Schumann, Nunavut’s transportation minister, David Akeeagok, and Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak all made pitches for roads and how the federal government should come up with money to help make that happen.

Anablak, a promoter of the Grays Bay port and road project, which would aim to join the Arctic coast to mines in the western Kitikmeot and eventually the N.W.T., said that proposed project in western Nunavut finally has regained Nunavut government support. Continue Reading →

Kivalliq youth want next 20 years in Nunavut to be devoted to jobs – by Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs (APTN National News – April 1, 2019)

Atuat Shouldice points out the usual attractions in his home community of ᑲᖏᕿᓂᖅ, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. This includes the Red Top convenience store, Victor’s playground and the defunct nickel mine ruins known as the “elephant graveyard.”

“Pretty well everyone my age, it was their playground when they were kids. If you remembered playing around there you had a pretty good childhood,” Shouldice said. He wants the same childhood for his two sons.

“Rankin’s home. Nunavut’s home. I want to raise my boys here,” he said. What he doesn’t want is the same resource extraction jobs paving their economic future. Shouldice, 32, grew up in Rankin Inlet, population 2,842. Continue Reading →

Baffinland CEO makes a case for mine expansion – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – March 31, 2019)

Nunavut News 

A proposed railway and many more cargo ships are the major concerns Baffinland Iron Mines’ CEO Brian Penney is hearing about in relation to the miner’s phase two expansion proposal, which would increase shipping to 12 million tonnes per year.

Penney said there’s misconceptions that the railway would reduce jobs for Inuit. He said there are only three or four existing Inuit truck drivers who go back and forth on the tote road from the mine to the port. However, Inuit represent close to 40 per cent of truck drivers at the mine site and the number of trucks at Mary River will rise dramatically if phase two proceeds.

“Anyone that drives a truck is going to be trained on driving trains,” the CEO said. “Inuit employment is only going to grow at Baffinland under all scenarios… we’re going to continue to build skills within the communities, to build skills that will make the workforce of the future for Baffinland. And hopefully someday Baffinland will be run by Inuit, totally.” Continue Reading →

New report gives thumbs up to Indigenous employment in Nunavut mines – by Hilary Bird (CBC News North – April 1, 2019)

Agnico Eagle Mining described as doing things right when it comes to training and retaining Indigenous workers

A new report from the Conference Board of Canada says employers looking to hire and keep northern Indigenous employees could learn from a Canadian gold mining company, Agnico Eagle Mines.

The study, Working Together: Indigenous Recruitment and Retention, was put together by researchers with the board’s centre for the North. Researchers interviewed dozens of corporations, public sector employers and Indigenous employees and found many employees often don’t apply for jobs because of a lack of education, life skills and housing support.

When it comes to Indigenous employment in mining, Nunavut is the front runner. Ninety-seven per cent of Nunavut residents who work in the industry in the territory are Indigenous. In the Northwest Territories, it’s 52 per cent. Continue Reading →

Mining North Works ‘demystifies’ the industry – by Terry Dobbin (Nunavut News – March 31, 2019)

Nunavut News

This is a guest op-ed written by the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

Mining is working for Nunavut, and the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Today we are seeing more and more Nunavummiut finding meaningful jobs in mining. We are seeing Nunavut mining business on the rise and more mining taxes and royalties flowing to public and Inuit governments than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean we can sit back and relax. More opportunities are available and we want Northerners to learn how to seize them. Our mines are looking for more Nunavummiut to take well-paying and interesting jobs. They’d like to do more business.

To help them achieve that – and to help people learn more about just how mining works for Nunavut and how they might become involved in it – the Chamber of Mines has launched a public awareness initiative named Mining North Works! A big goal of the Mining North Works program is to “demystify” mining. Another is to attract people into mining jobs. Continue Reading →

First Nations-led group planning bid for majority stake in Trans Mountain pipeline – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – March 28, 2019)

A First Nations-led group is putting together a bid to buy a 51-per-cent stake in Ottawa’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline with the aim of kickstarting the long-delayed expansion by giving Indigenous communities a financial stake.

All First Nations in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are being invited to participate in the $6.8-billion plan, which values the project at more than $13-billion.

The effort is led by Delbert Wapass, former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan and current vice-chairman of the Indian Resource Council. The group, called Project Reconciliation, hopes to build support for the massive oil export project, which has divided Indigenous people. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Oil Tanker Moratorium Act will harm Canada’s economy and reputation abroad – by Perrin Beatty, Robert Lewis-Manning, Dennis Darby and Tim McMillan (Globe and Mail – March 27, 2019)

Robert Lewis-Manning, president, Chamber of Shipping, Dennis Darby, president and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Perrin Beatty, president and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

While the Canadian economy is slowing to a halt, the federal government is advancing a ban on tanker traffic on a significant portion of the West Coast that will prevent Canada from exporting our responsibly produced energy products.

At a time when Canada desperately needs marine access to reach new growing markets in Asia – and to avoid losing millions of dollars per day on the sale of our oil – Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, is an irresponsible measure for the Canadian economy.

For decades, Canada’s West Coast has been a trading gateway for commercial marine transport. It has provided access to global markets for our country’s most valuable resources and products. Continue Reading →

‘Reset’ on Canada’s road to resources – by Bill Gallagher (Corporate Knights – March 26, 2019)

The precise moment announcing Canada’s “reset” on its road to resources was this headline splashed across the front page of the Globe and Mail on May 17, 2018: “Pipeline pledge won’t cost taxpayers a cent, Morneau says”.

It refers to the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which Ottawa had already approved but which now was in big trouble as a result of the proponent’s inability to access its terminal on account of protests.

There it was in black and white. Formal, high-level political recognition (by Finance Minister Bill Morneau) that resource projects in modern day Canada needed to be de-risked through direct federal government intervention. And as we were about to learn, this pipeline needed more than de-risking: It needed outright rescuing. Ottawa paid billions to assume Kinder Morgan’s ownership position, as the latter headed for the exits. Continue Reading →

‘We’re not getting it’: Liberals sprinkle $700 million in Arctic but a strategic plan remains elusive – by Naomi Powell and Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 23, 2019)

The federal government needs to set a long-term strategy to truly unlock the economic potential of the region as Russia and China get a head-start

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s pre-election budget took steps to tackle the gaping infrastructure deficit in Canada’s north, but offered no timeline for when a highly anticipated long-term development strategy for the region will be complete.

In his last budget before the fall election, Morneau earmarked $700 million for Northern and Arctic initiatives, including $18 million for a hydroelectricity project in the Northwest Territories, $75 million for economic development programming and $400 million over eight years for infrastructure projects in the sparsely populated area.

Though Tuesday’s budget also reaffirmed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2016 commitment to co-develop an “Arctic and Northern Policy Framework” with local residents and stakeholders, it did not set a date for when it will be unveiled. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Doug Ford’s repeal of the Far North Act won’t gain the respect of Indigenous communities – by Dayna Scott (Globe and Mail – March 25, 2019)

Dayna Scott is York University Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy and associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Late last month, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government confirmed that it plans to repeal the Far North Act, seeking to reduce “red tape” and increase “business certainty” in the Ring of Fire – a mineral deposit located near James Bay. While Premier Doug Ford is not the first to think he has found a key to unlocking the resource potential of Ontario’s north, this strategy is sure to backfire.

Ontario’s far north is inhabited almost exclusively by Indigenous peoples with ancestral homelands in the area covered by Treaty 9. It is a vast landscape of swampy boreal forest, a gigantic carbon sink that is also home to rare creatures such as the woodland caribou and the wolverine.

Except for the De Beers diamond mine near Attawapiskat, there has been almost no industrial scale development in the whole region, which is why mining the hyped-up nickel and chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire region will require major new roads and other infrastructure. Continue Reading →

THE DRIFT: A vested interest in natural resources: Entrepreneurially minded Pic Mobert First Nation takes its place in industrial services – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 22, 2019)

For generations, Pic Mobert First Nation’s economic situation was no different than many Indigenous communities across Canada: on the outside looking in at natural resource development.

The northwestern Ontario Ojibwe community of 300 was surrounded by an abundance of valuable minerals and forestry on their traditional territories, but as with most Indigenous communities, they were shut out of employment and ownership opportunities.

White Lake Limited Partnership CEO Norm Jaehrling recalls making that observation 25 years ago when he was working with the community on provincial negotiations over the locations of some hydroelectric dams on their lands. Continue Reading →

Canada, B.C., should honour commitments to Tŝilhqot’in and stop mine – by Russell Myers Ross (Vancouver Sun – March 21, 2019)

More than 10 years ago, Taseko Mines proposed an open-pit mining project in an area of immeasurable cultural and spiritual importance for our Tŝilhqot’in people. This area, about 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, is known to our people as Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake), Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding area (Nabas).

This area is home for many Tŝilhqot’in who were born and raised on these lands, a resting place for our ancestors, an active cultural school for teaching our youth, and an important place of ceremony and spiritual power.

We hold proven aboriginal rights to hunt and trap over these lands, and this area also sits near the headwaters of the Dasiqox (Taseko) River, a nursery for salmon that make the annual journey along the Fraser River. Continue Reading →