17 May 2008

Ontario First nation opposes uranium mining (important lesson !)

First nation opposes uranium mining


15 May 1007

Serpent River First Nation (SRFN) is opposed to uranium mining in the area.

SRFN Chief Isadore Day says at a community meeting on April 28, they reached a consensus opposing development.

He says about 60 SRFN residents attended the meeting out of its population of 340.

They have also been informing off-reserve band members.

"This was not a knee-jerk thing. This has taken place over quite some time."

However, Day says their opposition has less to do with Pele Mountain Resources, the junior mining company hoping to eventually open a uranium mine in Elliot Lake, and more with the slow movement of government regarding resources on traditional SRFN territory (the Serpent River watershed).

"It's not directed at Pele. This would be with any developer within the traditional territory.

"This is an issue between two nations, SRFN and the Crown."

At the heart, is SRFN has not had any input into, nor has it been consulted by the Crown when it came to mining in the past and now with exploration. That should be taken care of first. The regulations need to include First Nation consultations, says Day.

"There has to be an extraordinary level of participation at the outset of any exploration."

SRFN came up with the resolution because such projects are moving too fast with regards to the government and the private sector, but too slow when it comes to the Crown and First Nation.

"It poses real challenges between industry and First Nations when government moves slower in First Nation negotiations than it does when pushing through proponent approvals," Day says.

However, he admits that the government has many First Nations to deal with.

The resolution opposes any development, including cottage lots, forestry, quarries, hydro power and mining on traditional SRFN territory that has a negative impact on the "environment, social, economic and culture for its citizens and future generations."

Forestry is also a big concern, says Day.

The resolution opposes mining exploration in the traditional territory until revisions are made "to the Ontario Mining Act that would recognize the rights and responsibilities of First Nations in making decisions."

It also states any consultation or attempts to accommodate the First Nation during any development must take into consideration the Huron Robinson Treaty of 1850, and that the chiefs in the treaty's area need to be consulted.

Article ID# 1028417

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