(Temiscamingue, Quebec/Algonquin Territory) On Friday March 4, 2011, representatives from two Algonquin First Nations, Eagle Village and Wolf Lake, presented mining representatives of Matamec Explorations Inc. with a process to review a proposed open-pit rare earth elements mine in their traditional territory. The leadership of the two Algonquin communities want to ensure there is a review process that addresses their constitutional rights as well as respecting their culture, knowledge, and uses of the land.
Chief Harry St. Denis of Wolf Lake First Nation said that, "To date, our two Algonquin First Nations have been treated as mere stakeholders by Matamec. We have not been meaningfully consulted by the company on their activities, including the scope of their research or their research methods in determining potential impacts of the proposed open pit mine located next to the Kipawa River, which flows into Kipawa Lake."
Following a presentation by Matamec, Algonquin representatives pointed out that their First Nations have constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights and Title at the site of the rare earth deposit, and then tabled a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Matamec Vice President Aline Leclerc. The draft MOU provides for a consultation and review process between the two affected Algonquin First Nations and Matamec in order to address the potential environmental, cultural, social and economic impacts of the proposed rare earth mining development on the Algonquin First Nations.
Leclerc had confirmed her company will review the draft MOU and provide the two Algonquin First Nations with a response within two weeks.
"Once we assess the potential impacts versus benefits through the consultation-review process with Matamec, our two First Nations will decide if we consent to the proposed mining project to proceed or not," commented Chief Jimmy Constant of Eagle Village First Nation.
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For More Information Contact:
Chief Harry St. Denis, Wolf Lake First Nation, Office: (819) 627-3628
Chief Jimmy Constant, Eagle Village First Nation, Office: (819) 627-3455