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Landlords and Political Traps: how mineral exploration companies seek access to First Nations territory

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

A Master's program research paper by Shauna Qureshy.

Many exploration companies seek either formal, negotiated agreements or non-negotiated acquiescence from First Nation communities before they begin their exploration programs, and some proceed without acquiescence or agreement.

In 2005-6, Qureshy conducted 33 interviews with junior and major companies and consultants, to test two hypotheses:

1) companies prefer to seek acquiescence rather than negotiating agreements if they believe a First Nation's "landlord perceptions" can be weakened; and
2) companies will proceed even if they fail to obtain acquiescence/ agreement, if they believe they can detect "political traps" ahead of time and avoid them.

Qureshy finds that these factors are better predictors for how companies approach First Nations, than companies' size and wealth, their vulnerability to First Nation threats, or pressures for corporate social responsibility.

The full paper is available here as a PDF file.