Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Brazil aims to open indigenous reserves to mining: minister (Reuters U.S. – March 8, 2019)

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The government of Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is preparing an overhaul of mining sector regulations that will include opening up indigenous reserves to mining, the country’s mines and energy minister said.

Mining in indigenous reserves is currently prohibited. Minister Bento Albuquerque said Brazil plans to overhaul mining rules to prevent future disasters such as the dam bursting at a Vale SA facility in January that killed hundreds and also allow for more economic growth in the sector, including of mineral exports.

“That legislative effort shall also include the regulation of the use of indigenous and other areas according to what the Brazilian federal constitution states,” Albuquerque said at an event in Washington, D.C. A video of the remarks were posted late on Thursday. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: New Coalition says East-West route to Ring of Fire needed now (March 5, 2019)

(Toronto, March 5, 2019) – The East-West Ring of Fire Road Coalition (EWRFC) is a new organization at the world’s largest mining conference, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference (#PDAC2019) advocating for an “East – West road” to access the Ring of Fire.

The EWRFC contends this route will benefit the greatest number of Ontario communities, providing all-season road access, increasing the range of economic opportunities associated with the Ring of Fire – a massive deposit of the mineral chromite, with an estimate value of $60 billion.

The EWRFC was conceived to represent municipalities, First Nation communities and businesses in Northwestern Ontario supporting the construction of a four-season access road into the Far North. Which will build on the current success of First Nation businesses in Sioux Lookout. Continue Reading →

Eabametoong chief skips mining conference citing government silence on Ring of Fire (CBC News Thunder Bay – March 6, 2019)

Elizabeth Atlookan says she’s disillusioned with the state of negotiations with Ontario

The annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention wraps up in Toronto Wednesday, but one First Nations leader says she gave it a pass this year.

Eabametoong chief Elizabeth Atlookan typically attended the event because it was a forum for meetings between Matawa chiefs and government officials, sometimes regarding the Ring of Fire, she said in a release posted March 1 on the community’s web site.

But the Progressive Conservative government of Doug Ford has failed to respond to repeated requests to continue meeting with the chiefs since coming to power in June of last year, she said. Continue Reading →

New report urges slowdown at Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 5, 2019)

The more Baffinland Mining Corp.’s Mary River iron mine in north Baffin ramps up production, the fewer relative benefits will flow to Inuit, a new report concludes.

“The most important thing is that ramping up production in the short term will result to significant loss of benefits to Inuit in particular and the territory more generally,” said Trevor Taylor, the Iqaluit-based vice-president of conservation for Oceans North, which commissioned the report.

The report, prepared by John Loxley, an economist from the University of Manitoba, found that Inuit occupy “a very small share of the jobs at this mine” and the rapid expansion of the workforce will in all likelihood further reduce the Inuit share. Continue Reading →

‘Significant first step’: Feds fund new road to mineral-rich Arctic – by Bob Weber (CTV News/Canadian Press – March 4, 2019)

TORONTO — Northern leaders are cheering a federal funding announcement for a long-awaited all-weather road into the heart of Canada’s mineral-rich Arctic. “This is a significant first step,” said Wally Schumann, minister of industry and infrastructure in the Northwest Territories.

The $5.1 million outlined at a mining conference in Toronto is a small fraction of the total cost that is expected to exceed $1 billion.

But Schumann said the money will pay for planning and development of the first part of the road, which could be under construction within five years. “It’s one of the richest regions in North America,” he said. Continue Reading →

Environmental assessment starts on Ring of Fire supply road – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – February 28, 2019)

Webequie, SNC-Lavalin prepare study outline for airport-to-exploration camp route

The first step in a provincial environmental assessment (EA) of a supply road to the Ring of Fire is underway. Webequie First Nation, the community closest to the Far North mineral deposits, has initiated the EA study of a permanent road running from Webequie’s airport to the fly-in exploration camps near McFaulds Lake in the James Bay lowlands.

The length of the proposed road is 107 kilometres. According to a document posted Jan. 25 on a community road project web page, the EA’s terms of reference (ToR) are being prepared, which basically outlines the framework and the work plan for the study.

The ToR will be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for review this spring. The actual environmental assessment, slated to start this year, is a three-year process. Continue Reading →

Ford government proposes to scrap controversial law placing ‘restrictions’ on development in northern Ontario – by Fatima Syed (National Observer – February 26, 2019)

The grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is cautiously welcoming a proposal by Premier Doug Ford’s government to repeal a 2010 law that his nation viewed as a form of colonialism.

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler made the comments after Premier Doug Ford’s government announced a public consultation to repeal the Far North Act, legislation adopted by the former provincial Liberal government that gave First Nations some control over development in their traditional territories.

The government said on Monday that it was proposing to repeal the law with the aim of “reducing red tape and restrictions on important economic development projects” in the northern part of the province, including the Ring of Fire, all-season roads and electrical transmission projects. Continue Reading →

NAN lauds move to repeal Far North Act (Timmins Daily Press – February 27, 2019)

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is applauding the Government of Ontario’s plan to repeal the Far North Act.

“We strongly oppose the Far North Act and are encouraged that Ontario is taking a second look at this controversial legislation,” Fiddler said in a statement. “The Act was enacted without meaningful consultation to legislate our territory under the control of the province and threatens the inherent, treaty and Aboriginal rights of our people.”

“Ontario does not have free reign to do as it pleases in the Far North, and we will defend our right to control development so that the wealth from our lands benefits our people and the growth of our Nation. We welcome the opportunity to engage with the province, but any process must begin with government-to-government dialogue in our traditional territories. We are prepared to facilitate a consultative process for the development of the lands and resources in NAN territory. Continue Reading →

Sharing the natural wealth: Through industry partnerships, Wabun Tribal Council has the recipe for producing resilient communities – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 25, 2019)

Wabun Tribal Council executive director Jason Batise recalls a conversation with a provincial negotiator on a resource revenue sharing model that the former Wynne government planned to carry into the 2018 provincial election.

During a break, the senior bureaucrat took him aside and confided that these talks represented a “crowning achievement” in his professional career. “I’ve been in the public service for 25 years and this is the best thing I’ve ever done,” recalled Batise.

When it goes into effect this fall, the series of agreements between the province and 32 First Nations, including six from Wabun, enables them to receive 40 per cent of the annual mining tax and royalties from existing mines in areas covered by the agreements, 45 per cent from future mines, and 45 per cent of forestry stumpage. Continue Reading →

Confidence abounds over Ring of Fire development – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – February 22, 2019)

NORONT CEO tells Sudbury audience ore could be mined from Eagle’s Nest by 2024

If all goes well, the first load of ore concentrate could be coming out of the Ring of Fire by 2024. But before that, a lot of variables need to be addressed. Most critically, government commitment to funding and permitting, as well as smelter selection and road construction.

Even then, Alan Coutts said Noront Resources has contingency plans for several scenarios. Even taking ore processing out of province, if need be.

He gave an audience gathered for the Sudbury chapter of the Canadian Institute of Mining’s annual Winterlude event an update on where the corporation is at in their plan on Feb. 21. Continue Reading →

Nunavut tables near-balanced budget for 20th-anniversary year (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – February 20, 2019)

As Nunavut approaches the 20th anniversary of its creation, the territory has tabled a mostly stand-pat budget that plans modest spending increases to fight some of its social problems.

“We look ahead to the next 20 years and beyond with anticipation, hope, motivation and great respect to the people, traditions and innovation that brought us to this point,” Finance Minister George Hickes told the territorial legislature Wednesday.

His budget forecasts a tiny deficit of $12-million on revenues of about $2.2-billion – about 90 per cent of which will come from federal transfers. That makes it the territory’s third red-ink budget in a row. Continue Reading →

Deep sea mining threatens indigenous culture in Papua New Guinea – by John Childs (The – February 19, 2019)

When they start mining the seabed, they’ll start mining part of me.

These are the words of a clan chief of the Duke of York Islands – a small archipelago in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea which lies 30km from the world’s first commercial deep sea mine site, known as “Solwara 1”. The project, which has been delayed due to funding difficulties, is operated by Canadian company Nautilus Minerals and is poised to extract copper from the seabed, 1600m below the surface.

Valuable minerals are created as rapidly cooling gases emerge from volcanic vents on the seafloor. Mining the seabed for these minerals could supply the metals and rare earth elements essential to building electric vehicles, solar panels and other green energy infrastructure. But deep sea mining could also damage and contaminate these unique environments, where researchers have only begun to explore.

The industry’s environmental impact isn’t the only concern. It’s been assumed by the corporate sector that there is limited human impact from mining in the deep sea. It is a notion that is persuasive especially when compared with the socio-ecological impacts of land-based mining. Continue Reading →

N.W.T. Mineral Resources Act to require benefit agreements with Indigenous gov’ts – by Katie Toth (CBC News North – February 11, 2019)

If passed, act will replace mirrored federal legislation

The Northwest Territories government says more accountability on negotiations between industry and Indigenous governments is a hallmark of its long-awaited Mineral Resources Act, which was tabled in the legislature Monday.

If passed, companies will be required to sign a benefit agreement with affected Indigenous groups before companies can proceed with any major mining projects.

The act replaces mirrored federal legislation the territorial government has been using since it started managing its own land and resources after devolution in 2014. Continue Reading →

Move quickly on treaty ruling, ex-Sudbury judge says – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – February 12, 2019)

Retired Superior Court Justice Stephen O’Neill is pleased a former colleague ruled in favour of the Robinson-Huron Treaty Trust in its fight to have Crown annuities increased for 21 First Nations across much of Northern Ontario.

But he is also hoping the Ontario government does not appeal Justice Patricia Hennessy’s decision, potentially tying the matter up in the courts for years. (The federal government has said it won’t appeal the decision).

“Can we move on from Justice Hennessy’s decision?” asked O’Neill, during a Robinson-Huron Treaty post-decision panel discussion Monday at the University of Sudbury. “Is there enough impetus? Is there enough energy there to work toward solving Steps 2 and 3 through mediation and get a final settlement? This is all about education, the search for justice … Continue Reading →

Ontario court decision sets precedent for First Nations – by Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – December 28, 2019)

An Ontario judge’s decision that treaty annuities must be increased to reflect resource revenue taken from treaty territory promises to be a hot topic, writes Doug Cuthand

Christmas came early in Indian Country. In a landmark decision, a judge in Thunder Bay has ruled that the treaties are living documents and annuities must be increased to reflect the resource revenue taken from the treaty territory.

The judge’s decision was delivered in Thunder Bay on Dec. 21 and has been barely covered by the media. However, it promises to be a hot topic as the year progresses and the far-reaching effect starts to sink in.

Earlier this year, the 21 First Nations that were the signatories of the Robinson Huron Treaty took the federal government to court to have the annual annuities of $4 evaluated and updated to reflect the increase in resource revenues over the years. Continue Reading →