(Kipawa, Quebec) Our two Algonquin First Nations are aware that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has initiated an environmental assessment of a proposed Kipawa Rare Earth Elements open pit mine. The proposed mine site is located within, and has the potential to significantly affect, the shared traditional territories of our two First Nations.
As Algonquin First Nation Governments who represent our Algonquin peoples our duty is to protect our lands, waters and environment for our present and future generations.
Rare earth mines can be the source of significant toxics that risk being released to the environment including radioactive elements (uranium and thorium) and the poorly understood rare earth elements themselves. Existing regulatory regimes in Quebec and Canada have not been designed with rare earth elements in mind, pointing to the need for additional, closer scrutiny of the Project.
As Wolf Lake Chief Harry St. Denis stated today “we are concerned that the standard Environmental Assessment process will not adequately address our concerns about the potential for adverse environmental impacts from the Project. As it stands now, the mine does not trigger an environmental assessment under Quebec legislation so the federal Environmental Assessment will be the only one done for this proposed mine.”
Chief St. Denis added “we have determined that a Joint Review Panel pursuant to section 38(C) of the CEAA with our Algonquin First Nation Governments would provide a much more appropriate means of evaluating this Project and we have written to the federal Minister of the Environment Peter Kent calling on him to establish a Joint Review Panel.”
Eagle Village Chief Madeleine Paul also stated today “from meetings that have been held in our two Algonquin First Nation communities we know that there is a high degree of public concern among our Algonquin Peoples and also within the non-Algonquin population. While the environmental impacts and public concern are reason enough to refer the Project to a review panel, we feel the real opportunity with a Joint Federal-Algonquin Panel is in the potential for inter-jurisdictional cooperation with our two Algonquin First Nation Governments (Eagle Village & Wolf Lake).”
The proponents of the proposed Rare Earth Elements open pit mine are Matamec Explorations Inc. a junior mining exploration company with the financial support of Toyota Tsusho Corporation.
In parallel, the Company is exploring more than 35km of strike length in the Kipawa Alkalic Complex for rare earths-yttrium-zirconium-niobium-tantalum mineralization on the shared territory of the Algonquin First Nations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chief Madeleine Paul, Eagle Village First Nation: (819) 627-3455
Chief Harry St. Denis, Wolf Lake First Nation: (819) 627-3268