(Toronto) At the annual general meeting of mining company Copper One this afternoon, representatives of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake will assert their opposition to mining on their unceded territory. A youth drum group from the 500-person First Nation will lead community members and supporters in a rally outside the meeting.
Copper One has been attempting to conduct preliminary drilling and exploration work for an open pit Copper Mine in the Algonquins’ territory, three hours north of Ottawa in Quebec. The company’s mineral claims were staked without the free prior informed consent of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Since September 2016, Barriere Lake have maintained a land protection camp near the proposed mining site.
Community spokesperson and band councillor Norman Matchewan stated: “The claim is right in the Ottawa River watershed, and we don’t want it to contaminate our land and water.”
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have steadfastly opposed mining activity on their territory for years. At Copper One’s 2012 AGM, community representatives asserted a clear ‘no’ to the proposed mining project. The company’s claims were suspended by Quebec in 2011 and again in 2017. In February, Copper One sued the Quebec government in an effort to re-activate their claims.
UNDRIP emphasizes the need for the consent of Indigenous communities to activities affecting them on their lands. Quebec's Mining Act fails to require consultation or consent from Indigenous nations. On February 1, 2017, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador adopted a unanimous resolution proposed by Barriere Lake condemning the Mining Act of Quebec as “unconstitutional” in regard to Indigenous rights.
Barriere Lake Chief Casey Ratt reminds Copper One: “Our community will always be against any type of mining activity within our traditional territory. We will protect our territory for future generation to come.”
For more information:
- Chief Casey Ratt, cell: (819) 441-8002
- Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General, cell: (819) 355-3662