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Algonquin First Nations Have Serious Concerns About Proposed Rare Earth Open Pit Mine on Traditional Lands: Seek MOU With Matamec

Source: 
Eagle Village First Nation – Wolf Lake First Nation

(Temiscaming, Quebec) Matamec Explorations Inc. is proposing to develop a rare earth elements open pit mine at what they call the Zeus Site. This proposed mine site is located on the traditional lands of our two Algonquin First Nations. Our First Nations have constitutionally protected Aboriginal and Treaty rights to our traditional lands and resources.

Our First Nations have learned that there are particular environmental concerns around the mining and processing of rare earth elements, which are found with uranium and thorium. One environmental problem has been the proper management of the low level radioactive tailings. The only other North American rare earth element mine site we are aware of is at the Mountain Pass site in California and there have been numerous environmental problems there, as well as, at other mining and processing sites around the world.

On April 17, 2012, our two Algonquin First Nation governments met with Matamec Explorations Inc. as part of an ongoing negotiation process regarding a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The main purpose of the MOU is to ensure that Matamec directly consults our two First Nations during the advanced exploration phase of the proposed mine and that Matamec agrees to cover the costs of our two First Nations’ social and cultural impact studies, as well as the costs of our independent experts to oversee the results of Matamec’s feasibility and environmental studies.

The Eagle Village-Wolf Lake-Matamec MOU is still under negotiation, but it is expected by our First Nations that it will be finalized soon.

Eagle Village Chief, Madeleine Paul, stated, “Our two First Nation governments want to have an accurate understanding of the environmental impacts of building, operating and reclaiming the Zeus mine, including the associated processing and other facilities. We also want to ensure the project is manageable and represents low impacts before we consider supporting the development of the rare earth element open pit mine.”

Wolf Lake Chief, Harry St. Denis, added, “Our two First Nation governments are going to wait to support the proposed mine until we are satisfied that the social cultural studies conducted by our First Nations and the environmental studies conducted by Matamec, provide us with a comprehensive and accurate portrait of all the impacts and related impacts of the rare earth elements Zeus mine and we are satisfied the proposed project is manageable with low impacts.”

For more information contact:
Chief Harry St. Denis, Wolf Lake First Nation: Office: (819) 627-3628
Chief Madeleine Paul, Eagle Village First Nation: Office: (819) 627-3455