(Winneway) In a letter sent yesterday, May 12th, to the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Council of Long Point First Nation officially asks the Government of Quebec to immediately suspend the mining rights of Sayona Mining on the Anishnabeg unceded ancestral territory and to intervene in compliance with the constitutional consultation obligation which is incumbent on the Crown.
“Facing the imminent threat looming over our ancestral unceded territory from the mining exploration projects of the Australian company Sayona Mining, we ask you to confirm us that the Government of Quebec will intervene by consulting Long Point First Nation distinctively and that, consequently, the Energy and Natural Resources Minister will use his powers to immediately suspend the company's rights,” writes Chief Steeve Mathias in his letter.
During a presentation by the promoter held on April 28, 2021, it was highlighted that beyond the imminent drilling campaign which could take place as early as May 2021, the mining company is considering short-term mining an open-pit mine on its claims which notably include the Ottawa River from one bank to the other as well as the entire north shore of Lake Simard. Neither the Secretariat aux Affaires autochtones (SAA) nor the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) have expressed interest in organizing this project presentation or even attending.
Sayona Mining exploration drilling projects planned for this summer are likely to have serious prejudicial effects on the First Nation’s territory and its members ancestral rights. This reality is evidenced by a proponent document dated April 21st, 2021, expressly indicating that shore, coastline, floodplain, marshes, swamps, ponds and bogs are wetlands and water bodies that would be affected if the planned mining activities were to see the light of day.
On Tuesday, May 4>, 2021, the Long Point First Nation Council held a consultation session for its members dealing specifically with Sayona Mining project. Lasting two hours and a half, it was marked by a great participation of members of all ages and by the vast majority of interventions raising several concerns about the project.
The Council intends to continue to act transparently. “We need time to complete the consultations due to the public health restrictions on public gatherings which limit our ability to bring our members together, share information and listen to them. Starting with our elders who are the keepers of our knowledge, but who must be protected from COVID-19 by taking all precautions. In this context, government intervention is more essential than ever ", affirms Chief Mathias.
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