DID News Alert May 1, 2012. Inuit land claim gets first $2.2 million royalty payment
On Tuesday May 1st 2012, the Inuit land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), received their first royalty payment of $2.2 million dollars. The royalty payment was made by the mining company Agnico-Eagle, which runs the Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake, Nunavut. NTI received the money for allowing the mine, which opened in 2010-2011, to be built on Inuit-owned land. As to what will be done with the money, NTI president Cathy Towtongie says they will put the money in a trust fund until it reaches $100 million dollars before it is distributed.
This is frustrating for many Inuit, who believe this money should be distributed to the communities immediately, instead of waiting potentially 20 years to be financially rewarded for the selling of their land. Mrs. Towtongie claims, “if there is mining to be done on Inuit-owned lands, we benefit.” But where is the benefit coming from if the royalties are to sit indefinitely in a bank account? And who is the “we” that is benefiting? NTI claims they are representing the wellbeing of future Inuit generations, but the future is now. If NTI truly cares about investing in the future of Nunavut communities as they claim, more intelligent and practical decisions must be made regarding the distribution and re-investment of this wealth. It is obvious these communities desperately need it.
What do you think about this? Where should the money be invested? Is NTI’s decision to wait until the fund reaches $100 million a good idea? Or will it be too late by then to make a difference? Please leave your comments below.
For the original online article, follow this link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/05/02/north-nti-royalty-payment.html
Or download the PDF file of the article (look to your left under ‘attached files’).