Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Court ruling to grant First Nations a much bigger cut of resources royalties in Ontario – by Sean Fine (Globe and Mail – January 5, 2019)

Forty thousand members of 23 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario have been receiving $4 a person each year from the Crown for ceding rights over a resource-rich territory about the size of France under 1850 treaties.

The Indigenous groups filed a court challenge against the Crown, saying the $4 annuity did not reflect the spirit of the treaties. And now a judge – after an exhaustive examination of the history of the treaties – has ruled that the signatories intended that the annuities should grow to allow the First Nations to share the growth in revenues governments receive from resource companies in the territory.

Wiikwemkoong Chief Duke Peltier, who was involved in the case, said the ruling shows that the courts are pushing government to “place our people back to the way we once were, that is as true partners in the development of this country, living together in harmony.” He described the $4 annuity as barely enough to buy a coffee in Toronto. Continue Reading →

Celebrating a century of mining at Yukon – by Anne Turner (nee Lewis) and Lindsay Wilson (Northern Miner – January 8, 2019)

Northern Miner

Anne Turner (nee Lewis) is the executive director of the Yukon Mining Alliance (YMA). Lindsay Wilson is communications manager at YMA.

It was finding gold at Rabbit Creek and along the riverbeds of the Klondike that forever changed one of the world’s final frontiers — the Yukon Territory — and cemented the region’s roots as an inspiring Canadian mining district.

Yukon’s rich mining history continues to provide exciting discoveries, varied commodities and significant opportunities for northerners and investors alike. As we kick off 2019, we reflect on our history and the last year that has proved — through achievements, advancements and accolades — that Yukon is a mining district to follow and to celebrate.

In 1896, a hundred-thousand stampeders journeyed north, following the news of “Gold, gold, gold!” and “The Klondike gold rush begins” in papers from Seattle to San Francisco. Kate and George Carmack, Skookum Jim Mason, Dawson Charlie and Robert Henderson discovered placer gold at Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza Creek) on Aug. 26. Continue Reading →

Sweet success: The road to production was a long one, but it was not enough to sour Harte Gold on its Sugar Zone project – by Virginia Heffernan (CIM Magazine – January 07, 2019)

From early financing to final permitting, nothing about advancing the Sugar Zone project in northern Ontario to production has been easy or expedient. So the opening of the mine in October – the province’s first high-grade gold mine in a decade – was especially poignant for Harte Gold’s management and employees.

The operation near White River is expected to produce less than 50,000 ounces in 2019 but annual production will grow to 75,000 ounces by 2020 and average 106,000 ounces from then on as throughput expands. By mid-November, mill throughput had reached the initial target of 575 tonnes per day (tpd) and Harte expected it would reach commercial production and complete the tailings management facility and paste fill plant by the end of 2018.

Harte and former partner Corona Gold began exploring Sugar Zone 20 years ago, just after the Bre-X scandal decimated the junior mining market. They spent a decade outlining an NI 43-101 compliant, high-grade resource of almost one million tonnes grading about 10 grams per tonne (gpt) gold. But the project had trouble gaining traction. Continue Reading →

The story of Klondike Kate Carmack and the (modern day) sisters who moil for gold – by Joe O’Connor (Financial Post – January 4, 2019)

Five sisters are modern pioneers linked to a colourful prospecting past that includes Carmack, whose lying husband took credit for the Klondike strike and cheated her out of her fortune

During the summer, when by fate of their unpredictable schedules the five Bjorkman sisters actually find themselves together at their parents’ log home on Whiskyjack Lake, Ont., the conversation inevitably turns to rocks.

Jessica Bjorkman, the eldest sister at 38, might, for example, start talking about what she found or didn’t find, or the bear she had to run off, or the view from a B.C. mountain ridge that was so perfect she couldn’t quite believe it was real. Continue Reading →

First Nations win annual payment case – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – December 27, 2018)

SUDBURY – First Nations in Northern Ontario have a won a lawsuit that will require federal and provincial governments to pay them higher annuities.

“It feels great,” said Mike Restoule of the Nipissing First Nation near North Bay, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 21 First Nations in the Robinson-Huron treaty area. “We heard the court ruling and it came down in our favour, but I don’t really have details,” he said.

“I find that the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable obligation to increase the treaties’ annuities when the economic circumstances warrant,” wrote Justice Patricia Hennessy in her decision. “The economic circumstances will trigger an increase to the annuities if the net Crown resource-based revenues permit the Crown to increase the annuities without incurring a loss.” Hennessy said the two sides need to sit down and negotiate new terms. Continue Reading →

What does reconciliation mean to Indigenous people? – by Angela Sterritt (CBC News British Columbia – January 3, 2019)

If it means friendly relations or equal access, a new word is needed, leaders say

Reconciliation has emerged as a buzzword in Canada over the last three years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even proclaimed a national day of reconciliation in 2018. He’s also pushed his Indigenous rights recognition framework and stirred debate on ending or “decolonizing” the 1876 Indian Act, which gave Ottawa control over most aspects of Indigenous life, from health and education to land.

However, much like the relationship it aims to fix, there is uncertainty about the concept of reconciliation among some Indigenous people in Canada.

Sandlanee Gid, her traditional name, is an instructor of Reconciliation Studies through the University of British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. She struggles with the very meaning of the word. Continue Reading →


THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, celebrates the shut down of Pikangikum First Nation’s diesel generating station and official energization of the transmission line during a ceremony in the community today.

“This is an enormous achievement and I congratulate Chief Dean Owen and Council for their years of effort to secure a connection to the provincial electricity grid. A reliable power source will finally end Pikangikum’s reliance on diesel generation and help the community advance plans for growth and development,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

“We also congratulate Wataynikaneyap Power for their work to connect 17 First Nations to the provincial electricity grid through the first phase of this project. Connecting our remote communities to the provincial grid is better for the environment and will help improve the lives of our members.” Continue Reading →

[Resource Reckoning Book Review] Follow-up book documents more Indigenous court victories – by Ellsworth Dickson (Resource World Magazine – December/January 2019)

To order a copy of this informative book:

Lawyer, strategist and author Bill Gallagher has followed up his earlier book entitled Resources Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources with his new effort – Resource Reckoning.

It may seem strange that two books that just document court cases could be fascinating reading but some cases are as spellbinding as any John Grisham legal thriller. Resource Reckoning was written on the heels of an amazing 250 Canadian court victories by various Native bands across Canada. Many of the cases involved litigation against provincial and the federal government regarding both petroleum and mineral commodities.

Indigenous bands have learned that they do better in court than getting involved in lengthy treaty discussions. Some of the passages detail positions taken by governments that defy logic and were obviously destined to fail. Other cases are plain goofy: “Crazy as it may sound, the Lone Ranger and Tonto made it all the way to the highest court in Nova Scotia.”

An unfortunate aspect of many of the court cases is that the federal government could have done better years ago to set up rules and regulations for mining and oil & gas companies to deal with First Nations. Basically, mineral explorers want to explore for minerals and have reasonable consultations with Indigenous groups. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold” – by Deb Vanasse (December 12, 2018)

Kate Carmack was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for her part in discovering the Klondike gold fields. She is the first Aboriginal woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. Deb Vanasse has written the definitive story of Carmack’s fascinating life. It makes a terrific Christmas gift! Click here to order a copy of “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold”:

Deb Vanasse is an American writer of seventeen books, many of which are set in Alaska. She first became interested in the story of Kate Carmack when she hiked the “meanest miles” of the Chilkoot Trail, where as a young woman Kate packed for prospectors over the summit. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives in Oregon, where she continues to write while doing freelance editing, coaching, and writing instruction. She is a co-founder of 49 Writers.

Good Gold, Lotsa Gold – Excerpt from Chapter Ten

In addition to wealth, one of the key outcomes of what became known as “Discovery Day” in the Klondike—August 17, 1896—was a mosaic of stories that frame the event, dramas in which Kate plays various roles from supporting actress to chief protagonist, depending on the cultural context. Continue Reading →

Miners aim to rebuild global reputation – by Nelson Bennett (Business in Vancouver – December 12, 2018)

Canadian companies working to improve industry’s image

Over the years, Canadian mining companies operating overseas in developing countries have earned a bad reputation for their treatment of the environment, workers and local indigenous people.

There have been recent high-profile cases of Canadian mining companies being sued in Canadian courts for alleged violence against protests in Guatemala and alleged use of slave labour in Eritrea. Less frequently in the headlines are the positive things some Canadian miners are doing in the countries where they operate.

B2Gold Corp. (TSX:BTO), for example, has won a number of awards for its corporate responsibility efforts in Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Namibia, and NexGen Energy Ltd. (TSX:NXE), a Vancouver uranium mine developer, recently won an award from the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada for social development programs it has initiated in La Loche, Saskatchewan. Continue Reading →

Trudeau’s tanker ban is making many Indigenous communities angry. Here’s why – by Richard Neufeld (Financial Post – December 11, 2018)

Opinion: Bill C-48 is currently before the Senate. If it passes, Eagle Spirit could be dead

On December 11th, the Senate of Canada will be honoured to welcome a delegation of 15 First Nations Chiefs from the National Chiefs Coalition, the Indian Resource Council, and the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council who, together, represent some 200 First Nations communities.

They will be in Ottawa to speak about the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor Project and how it can help achieve reconciliation through economic empowerment. My wish is that all Canadians become familiar with Eagle Spirit.

In brief, Eagle Spirit is a First Nations business consortium that proposes to build what has been called the greenest pipeline energy corridor on the planet, running from Bruderheim, Alta. to Grassy Point, B.C. Once completed, the project could ship four-million barrels of crude oil and ten billion cubic feet of natural gas to tidewater every day. Continue Reading →

Exploration deals move Manitoba mining into modern era – by Bill Redekop (Winnipeg Free Press – December 10, 2018)

First Nation inclusion in the mineral exploration process is still in the dark ages in Manitoba and the mining sector has suffered as a result, says a Toronto lawyer who specializes in such contracts.

Kate Kempton, who negotiated two recent contracts in Manitoba where mineral exploration crosses traditional First Nation land, says there are hundreds of such contracts across the country already, but Manitoba’s just getting started.

“Frankly, it’s about time,” Kempton said in a phone interview. “First Nations were getting completely left behind.” Kempton, who is with Toronto law firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend, recently completed a “mineral exploration accommodation agreement” for lithium between New Age Metals and Sagkeeng First Nation in southeastern Manitoba. Continue Reading →

Alberta First Nations ‘unanimously’ support Bill C-69? Hardly – by Roy Fox (Globe and Mail – December 10, 2018)

Roy Fox (Maikiinima) is Chief of the Kainaiwa (Blood Tribe). He is a pioneer in First Nations self-management of their resources, and a former CEO of the Indian Resource Council.

I have spent more than 45 years advocating for my people, working to battle on-reserve poverty and focusing on generating resource revenues to provide the employment and education that my community has every right to obtain.

I have been deeply involved in the process that allowed communities like mine to begin to take over the management and control of our oil and gas resources from Ottawa. I care greatly about the future of my people and their ability to access natural-resource revenues. I believe that the Canadian energy discussion could use some hard messages right about now.

So a false impression exists – that Alberta First Nations unanimously support Bill C-69, which the federal government says will change how pipeline projects are assessed, regulated and consulted upon. While I can’t explain where the communication broke down, I and the majority of Treaty 7 chiefs strongly oppose the bill for its likely devastating impact on our ability to support our community members, as it would make it virtually impossible for my nation to fully benefit from the development of our energy resources. Continue Reading →

Native Americans hope to protect ancestral sites threatened by multibillion-dollar copper mine – by Daisy Finch (Cronkite News – December 7, 2018)

Cronkite News

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST – LeRoy Shingoitewa dug his hiking boots into loose gravel and sand, watching the early November morning sunlight slowly spread across shrubby hills and rocky valleys near the proposed site of an enormous copper mine.

Resolution Copper plans to develop the mine east of Superior and predicts the mine will meet about a quarter of the nation’s demand for copper once it is in full production. The company says the mine, which may cost as much as $8 billion, is the “largest single investment in Arizona history.”

It has been passionately opposed by some Native Americans who say it will destroy a sacred site near Oak Flat Campground in the Tonto National Forest about 70 miles east of Phoenix. The Resolution Copper-Oak Flat controversy is not lost on Shingoitewa, even though he’s a field director for a team of Native American “tribal monitors” chosen for a program funded by Resolution Copper and designed with help from the U.S. Forest Service. Continue Reading →

The Ring of Fire: Some clarification and context from Stan Sudol – by Greg Klein (Recource Clips – December 4, 2018)

Urban journalists hundreds of kilometres away might not get it, but regional opposition to Ring of Fire development is anything but unanimous. That’s emphasized in a recent post by Republic of Mining commentator Stan Sudol: Not all the region’s native bands oppose development. Those that do, moreover, have traditional territories outside the proposed mining areas.

“As with non-Aboriginal society, First Nations do not speak with one voice,” he points out. Two of five regional chiefs got considerable news coverage by criticizing a proposed road that would connect the provincial highway system with the mineral-rich region. Those chiefs represent the Eabametoong and Neskantaga bands, both with traditional territories outside the Ring of Fire.

“In fact, the Eabametoong reserve is a little over 170 kilometres southwest of the proposed first mine in the Ring of Fire—Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest underground nickel-copper mine—while Neskantaga is about 130 kilometres in the same direction.” Continue Reading →