Lithium Mining on Ancestral Territory: The Assessment of Sayona Mining’s Project Must Study Its Cumulative Impacts and Allow Long Point First Nation to Conduct Its Own Study
(Winneway, March 21, 2022) This morning, the Council of the Long Point First Nation (LPFN) sent a letter to the Government of Quebec requesting to conduct its own assessment of the impacts of Sayona Mining's proposed mining project affecting its unceded ancestral territory. The mining complex proposed by the company, which would include the extraction of ore in a highly significant area of our ancestral territory, raises serious concerns within our community, who occupies and cherishes this area that is still little affected by resource exploitation. These impacts must be considered as early as possible.
"The findings of our own assessment must be critical in deciding whether or not to allow the project to proceed," says Steeve Mathias, Chief of the Long Point First Nation Council. To complete this assessment, LPFN is requesting the necessary resources.
By the same occasion, the LPFN Council also requests that the three mining sites forming Sayona Mining's project (Tansim Lithium on our unceded territory, Authier Lithium in La Motte, and North American Lithium in La Corne) cease to be artificially divided before government authorities. The promoter's entire project must be subject to a single cumulative impact assessment before the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE), which shall include a comprehensive study of its consequences on our territory.
Indeed, since the acquisition of the North American Lithium mine in La Corne by Sayona Mining in August 2021, the project consists of a single mining complex that would be fed by the ore extracted from the Authier Lithium deposit, located in La Motte, and the Tansim Lithium deposit, located on the unceded territory of LPFN. It is therefore logical, reasonable and necessary that a single cumulative assessment be conducted and that it include our own study of the impacts on our territory and on our rights.
In April 2021, the Council of LPFN obtained the suspension of mining exploration activities at the Tansim Lithium site because of the imminent threat it poses to our Aboriginal rights. Since then, our concern about Sayona Mining's overall project in Abitibi-Témiscamingue has only grown in the face of the government of Quebec’s support for the development of "critical and strategic minerals".
"The government cannot claim to be acting in an environmentally responsible manner if its plan to create lithium batteries continues to infringe on First Nations' ancestral rights and prevents us from participating in an assessment process that respects our presence on our territory," said Chief Mathias.
For more information: Jessica Polson, Executive Assistant, (819) 722-2441 ext. 225 [email protected]