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17 June 2009

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  • Tahltan First Nation Serves Fortune Minerals With Eviction Notice

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    ISKUT, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Aug 16, 2013

    Members of the Tahltan First Nation have served Fortune Minerals Limited with an eviction notice to pack-up a controversial exploration camp situated near ancestral burial grounds. 

    The nation and its allies are calling on supporters to travel to the Sacred Headwaters to make a stand against the coal company. 

    "We didn't fight Shell for ten years so a coal company could come along and build an open pit mine in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters," said Mary Dennis, a Tahltan elder. "We've stopped bigger industrial projects before and we'll do it again with help from our supporters and allies." 

    Last month, the Tahltan Central Council (TCC) passed a unanimous resolution to protect the Sacred Headwaters from industrial development. The TCC are the elected representatives of the Tahltan Nation, which governs 5000 members and 93,500 square kilometers of unceded traditional Tahltan territory. 

    "We are calling on those people who have stood with us before, and who have a connection to the Sacred Headwaters, to stand with us again to protect this area once and for all," said Rhoda Quock, spokesperson for the Klabona Keepers, a group of Tahltan elders focused on protecting the Sacred Headwaters for future generations. 

    Fortune Minerals has been conducting exploratory work for the company's controversial Arctos Anthracite Coal Project, a plan to remove most of Mount Klappan and replace it with a 4,000 hectare open-pit coal mine. The area is adjacent to the Spatsizi wilderness area and is sacred to the Tahltan, who hunt and fish at a camp that has been used for several generations at the foot of the mountain. 

    "Fortune Minerals couldn't have picked a worse place to try and build an open-pit coal mine," said Shannon McPhail, Executive Director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. "This project is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the company should withdraw, rather than angering local communities over a project that will never be built." 

    The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is assisting the public with travel logistics to get to the Sacred Headwaters: http://ow.ly/nYJ69

    Media Materials: 
    Video B-Roll: http://ow.ly/nYIXl 
    Photos: http://ow.ly/nYIZA

    www.marketwatch.com

     

    20-08-2013

  • Dream of arctic broadband one step closer to reality

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Arctic Fibre begins Nunavut route surveys announces dream of arctic broadband one step closer to reality

    Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013

    A separate site visit to Deception Bay in Nunavik, Northern Quebec, will follow the Nunavut excursion to ascertain the viability of building a spur off the backbone to meet the bandwidth requirements of mining companies in the area.

    The determination of the cable landing locations and Boothia Crossing route will form part of the company’s submissions to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) and the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC).  Approvals from NIRB and NPC are prerequisites to the issuance of an International Submarine Cable Landing Licence from the Minister Responsible for Industry Canada.

    Arctic Fibre submitted its licence application to Industry Canada last October but finalization of the survey schedule required ice clearance at all landing points. The finalization of landing site locations will enable Arctic Fibre to refine its undersea routes and undertake the detailed marine studies later this year and with the bulk of the work being completed in 2014. The scheduled in-service date for the $620 million backbone network between London and Tokyo is December 2015.

    By combining an Arctic broadband network in the same cable sheath with a trans-continental link between Asian and European financial centres, Arctic Fibre can build a backbone network serving half of the population of Nunavut without government subsidy.

    In February the Company submitted a $237 million proposal to Industry Canada which would extend the fibre cable to 23 additional northern communities with the assistance of nine microwave hops.  This secondary network expansion, which would require some form of government support, would ensure the provision of  virtually unlimited bandwidth to 98% of the combined Nunavut and Nunavik population, thereby supporting both economic and social development, while contributing significantly to Canada’s nation-building in its Arctic region.

    www.yourcommunicationnews.com

    30-07-2013

  • ITK and ICC reject calls to end oil and gas activity in the Arctic

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    ITK, Inuit Circumpolar Council say cautionary, case-by-case approach needed to development projects.

    THE HILL TIMES

    Chris Plecash

    July 15, 2013 

    Leaders representing Canada’s Inuit at the national and international level are calling for a cautionary approach to oil and gas development in the Arctic and rejecting a Greenpeace-led campaign demanding a ban on offshore drilling and a moratorium on onshore hydrocarbon extraction in the region.

    Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council say it’s up to Inuit communities to determine how resources in their territories are developed, not Greenpeace and other organizations based outside of the Arctic Circle.

    Duane Smith, president of Canada’s Inuit Circumpolar Council branch, said that there are a variety of positions on resource development amongst the region’s Inuit, and it’s their decision whether or not projects like mining and offshore drilling take place on their settled territory.

    “Some are in favour, some are not. We would prefer to take a cautionary approach to development matters so that our respective Inuit regions are fully engaged, involved, and receiving benefits that they feel are appropriate for the development taking place in their areas,” Mr. Smith told The Hill Times.

    ITK president Terry Audla, whose organization represents the 55,000 Inuit living throughout the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Labrador nationally, said that his organization does not favour “development at all costs.” 

    Rather, the pace of development needs to be determined by Inuit communities living within each of the four regions settled under modern land claims agreement.

    “In each of those modern land claims agreements, there’s a requirement that Inuit participate and co-manage their renewable and non-renewable resources,” Mr. Audla said. “The advantage is that Inuit have 20-20 hindsight because of their isolation. We can look at what went wrong [elsewhere], what’s been done right, and try to build those into any development.”

    The comments from Mr. Audla and Mr. Smith are in stark contrast to the Joint Statement of Indigenous Solidarity for Arctic Protection that was released on May 13, two days before Canada assumed its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden.

    The strongly worded statement was signed by 41 representatives from Arctic communities and civil society, and demands a ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic shelf, a moratorium on Arctic onshore drilling, and that all “extraction and industrialization” of land require the informed “explicit consent” of indigenous inhabitants.

    “Our culture and history cannot be bought off and replaced with pipelines and drill rigs. Our way of living defines who we are and we will stand up and fight for our nature and environment,” the document’s preamble states. “Our rights and ability to sustain ourselves must not be trampled by others’ endless hunger for profits.”

    Organized by Greenpeace, the statement includes signatories from five of the eight Arctic Council member states—Canada, Russia, the U.S., Denmark, and Sweden. A number of representatives of Arctic Council permanent participant groups also signed the document, including Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, who is international vice chair of the Arctic Athabaskan Council. Chief Erasmus could not be reached for comment.

    Other permanent participant organizations to have members sign the declaration included the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Saami Council.

    The Inuit Circumpolar Council is also an Arctic Council permanent participant. Mr. Smith acknowledged that his organization has members who oppose oil and gas development in their territory.

    “Some of the Inuit regions have a lot of experience dealing with these issues and some don’t have any at all. The position is going to be varied amongst each of those areas because of that,” he said.

    Kiera Kolson, a Greenpeace campaigner and member of the Dene Nation, defended the statement opposing Arctic resource development. She said that it was not a Greenpeace initiative—the organization only helped to “create the space” for the groups to come together and develop the statement at the 2012 Indigenous Peoples of the North Conference held in Northern Russia.

    “We’re dealing with a very aggressive government right now where the indigenous voice and indigenous inherent rights are being undermined,” Ms. Kolson told The Hill Times. “We will continue to challenge reckless development because the [developers] don’t have the solutions for a large-scale spill. The fact of the matter is that oil drilling is dangerous.”

    Canada has made no secret that it plans to make Arctic economic development its top priority during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and mineral and hydrocarbon resources are expected to spur that development.

    Briefings notes prepared for Health Minister and Arctic Council Chair Leona Aglukkaq (Nunavut) ahead of her October 2012 Arctic tour, obtained by The Hill Times through the Access to Information Act, identify development for northern peoples as the overarching theme of Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Three sub-themes are identified: Arctic resource development, responsible and safe Arctic shipping, and sustainable circumpolar communities.

    The notes, part of a discussion paper for consultation with Arctic stakeholders, identify natural resource development as “central to the economic future of the circumpolar region.”

    “Arctic Council initiatives could be built around and support Canada’s priorities to increase investment and development in the Northern resource sector,” the paper suggests in reference to existing priorities under the Conservative government’s Northern Strategy. “Initiatives should highlight and reinforce Canadian leadership in this area, and engage industry and the business community.”

    There has been extensive oil and gas exploration throughout Canada’s Arctic waters, but currently no producing wells. That’s expected to change in the coming years as waters remain open for longer periods of time, allowing for more industrial activity by all Arctic Council members.

    Mr. Audla acknowledged that Arctic resource development posed a challenge to the people who live in the region.

    “When it comes to non-renewable resources, there’s nothing sustainable about it,” he said. “It’s a matter of responsible extraction and extracting it and shipping it in a way that is not a detriment to the wildlife, habitat, and the health of our people.”

    However, he added that the Inuit should not be told by outsiders what they can and cannot do in their own territory.

    “For an outside group to try to dictate to us how to manage development is just not right. We can manage our own affairs,” Mr. Audla said. “The next step is for the rest of the world to [deal with] their over-reliance on oil and emission-causing activities need to be stemmed. In the meantime, Inuit are not going to be taxed and told they can’t develop while the rest of the world is.”

    cplecash@hilltimes.com

    Twitter: @chrisplecash

    www.hilltimes.com

     

    22-07-2013

  • New Requirements for Kiggavik project

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Nunavut Impact Review Board releases report with suggestions from June technical meetings

    NORTHERN NEWS SERVICES

    Miranda Scotland
    July 17, 2013

    BAKER LAKE  -  AREVA Resources Canada has received further direction on what to address in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed uranium project near Baker Lake.

    The Nunavut Impact Review Board set out an additional 25 requirements in a report released July 5.

    The suggestions are based on information that came as a result of the technical meetings held in June.

    At the time, the NIRB met with people in communities across the Kivalliq region.

    The board also met with organizations such as the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers.

    The proposed Kiggavik project would see an estimated 51,000 tonnes of uranium mined from a location 80 km west of Baker Lake.

    The mine site is estimated to have an operation life of 12 years.

    The additional requirements AREVA will have to address in its FEIS include:

    • Provide a draft plan for monitoring dust from the operation. Consider ways to manage ore and waste rock storage areas in order to prevent dust contaminants from being blown around.
    • Consider the effects the operation could have on caribou and ways to mitigate them to ensure the sustainability of the herds.
    • Collect more Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and consider how the knowledge might be weighted against scientific information. Also, look at how to integrate the knowledge into plans to reduce project-related affects on the environment.
    • Provide a more comprehensive analysis of labour force projections.
    • Include a draft wildlife mitigation and monitoring plan.

    AREVA is expected to submit the FEIS by Sept. 30, 2014.

    The impacted parties will then have a chance to present final written submissions and the company will be given time to respond.

    The final hearing will be scheduled at a later date, likely for 2015.

    "At this time, the board is not in a position to schedule the date of the final hearing as it is highly dependent on the actual date of the filing and acceptance of a complete FEIS submission," the NIRB stated in its report, adding the meeting will not take place in May or June given that many community members are expected to be out on the land.

    Baker Lake has been selected as the location for the hearing, although representatives from each of the potentially affected communities will have an opportunity to participate.

    In the meantime, the board is encouraging AREVA to meet with people in communities across the region.

    The report stated the information sessions should address the questions raised during the community roundtables and provide an overview of how the key conclusions in the FEIS were reached.

    www.nnsl.com

     

    22-07-2013

  • Baker Lake HTO still wants public vote on Areva uranium project

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    NUNATSIAQ NEWS

    Nunavut July 15, 2013

    Editor’s note: The Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization sent this letter July 4 to the Nunavut Impact Review Board. They asked that it be published in Nunatsiaq News.

    The Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization participated in the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s community roundtable and pre-hearing conference for Areva’s proposed Kiggavik uranium project.

    The HTO would like to express several concerns with the structure of these meetings.

    During the meetings, the NIRB stated that the purpose of the community roundtable was to hear community concerns and to see if the communities opposed or supported Areva’s proposal.

    However, the HTO is concerned that the structure of the meetings resulted in a biased discussion, so the NIRB may not have an accurate picture of what the community feels about Areva’s proposal.

    The meetings were held in the spring, when many families in Baker Lake are busy fishing and preparing dried fish and dried meat out at their camps.

    The meetings were mostly held during working hours. Many people who work full-time or depend on fish and caribou did not attend the meetings. The NIRB did not hear their perspectives.

    The time allotted for community questions was also very tight. Some community members were able to dominate the floor, speaking many times, while many others were never given an opportunity to speak.

    The format of the community roundtable was also an issue. Community members were told to ask questions to Areva. Areva answered questions and responded to concerns like any mining company would. They told people not to worry, that they’d take care of any problems, and reassured us that everything would be okay.

    The NIRB staff was present, as were many intervening parties, but they mostly stayed out of the discussion, as they were never called upon. As a result Areva’s staff were left to guide the discussion and were allowed to steer the discussion in a very positive direction for them.

    Many Inuit in Baker Lake have complained that they do not feel comfortable voicing concerns directly to the mining industry. They feel intimidated to voice opposition because Areva’s staff of experts provide answers that make them feel stupid for opposing Areva.

    These experts are well-coached in public speaking and are trained to talk circles around the rest of us. If the interevening groups were allowed to participate more, the conversation may have been quite different.

    Instead of having community members ask Areva questions, community members could have had a day to discuss their concerns with the intervening groups.

    They could have had the opportunity to ask these groups if they agree with Areva’s assessment and if the intervening groups though Areva’s promises of jobs and environmental protection were possible.

    This would have given the community a chance to discuss their concerns with independent parties that reviewed the Areva’s proposal. It would also have resulted in a much more critical discussion of what Areva is proposing.

    The community has had many opportunities to discuss their concerns directly with Areva. As Areva said in their presentation, they have already held hundreds of “community engagement events” since they came into Baker Lake. In a way, the community round table ended up being another community engagement opportunity for Areva.

    While community members did have an opportunity to ask questions to the intervener groups during the pre-hearing conference, the pre-hearing conference was very rushed and there was very little time for community questions and concerns to be discussed.

    Some community members have also become very disheartened because they have shared their concerns and sometimes opposition many times before, but it does not seem to have any effect.

    Some people feel they’ve been consulted to death on this topic, and that the process will continue to move along no matter what they say. After almost eight years of sharing concerns and opposition, many people are wondering what the point is in speaking out at meetings.

    Due to these issues, the HTO is concerned that the NIRB got a very inaccurate view of the community’s perspective on Areva’s proposal. Many residents of Baker Lake are still opposed to mining uranium at Kiggavik.

    As the Baker Lake HTO suggested in our presentation to the pre-hearing conference, a public vote is the only thing that could accurately determine how the majority of the community feels about Areva’s proposal.

    Hugh Ikoe
    Chairperson
    Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization

    www.nunatsiaqonline.ca

     

    22-07-2013

  • Nunavut will bring Baffin hunters together to talk about caribou

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Nunavut July 18, 2013

    Nunavut will bring Baffin hunters together to talk about caribou

    Gathering follows survey that found dramatic plunge in population

    NUNATSIAQ NEWS

    Representatives of hunter and trapper organizations from around the Baffin will gather in Iqaluit July 23 to July 25 to talk about the region’s plunging caribou population.

    GN officials are not yet using terms like “quota” or “total allowable harvest.” But they do want to talk about conservation, management and “meaningful strategies.”

    “Potential conservation options surrounding Baffin Island caribou will be sought in this critical workshop, and the possible need for short-term and long-term management actions will be discussed,” a GN news release said.

    The results of a recent GN survey released this past May, done by airborne researchers and spotters from the communities, showed the caribou population on southern Baffin Island has declined by more than 95 per cent over the past 20 years.

    That survey estimated that the entire south Baffin regional holds a population of only 1,065 to 2,067 caribou aged one year or older.

    A different kind of survey, done in the late 1980s by biologist Mike Ferguson using Inuit traditional knowledge, found that south Baffin caribou numbers at that time stood somewhere between 60,000 and 180,000.

    Survey numbers for North Baffin have not yet been released. But hunters around the island have noticed declining numbers for nearly a decade.

    James Eetooloolook, a vice president at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., said Inuit in the communities should contact their local HTOs to discuss the issue prior to the Iqaluit meeting.

    Along with HTO representatives, people from NTI, the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board, an Department of Environment elders advisory committee and other organizations are invited to the Iqaluit meeting also.

    “The current caribou numbers across Baffin Island are reported to be low. Inuit understand that caribou populations naturally fluctuate, but it is critical that all co-management partners meet and discuss what sort of management measures should be put in place at this time,” Eetoolook said in a statement.

    www.nunatsiaqonline.ca

     

    22-07-2013

  • New Baffinland plan submitted

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Review process begins again for Mary River Project

    Lyndsay Herman
    Northern News Services
    Published Monday, July 1, 2013

    MITTIMATALIK/POND INLET
    The Mary River Project is rolling again now that the project's operators have submitted an updated plan for the mine.

    09-07-2013

  • Idle No More: Let’s celebrate together!

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Montréal, June 19, 2013 – Idle No More Québec and the Cercle des Premières Nations de l’UQÀM invite you to join the grand festive demonstration “Idle No More: Let’s celebrate together!” this Friday June 21st in Montréal in celebration of National Aboriginal Day.

    20-06-2013

  • Faroes signs new Arctic fish protection agreement

    by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    Fish Update: 17 June, 2013 The Faroe Islands has signed a new agreement to protect Arctic fishing and marine life and to prevent oil pollution. 

    The Faroese Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen was a co-signatory to the deal with the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vil

    17-06-2013