KI says “no” to De Beers exploration

KI informed De Beers that the community will not allow exploration by the multinational diamond mining industry giant on their Homeland.  De Beers publicly committed not to explore on KI Homeland without consent.

Read KI's letter to De Beers.

Read news media coverage.

 

For Immediate Release.  Dec. 6, 2010

KI First Nation Says “No” to De Beers Exploration

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI)Today KI First Nation informed De Beers that the community will not allow exploration by the multinational mining industry giant on KI lands.  In September, less than 9 months after KI blockades forced Platinex to surrender its claims, De Beers wrote this remote fly in community proposing “to carry out exploration for diamonds in an area to the north of the community of Big Trout Lake (KI),” an area 600 kilometers north of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  The proposed area of interest is directly adjacent to the KI reserve and covers much of KI territory.

In a letter copied to Premier McGuinty, Prime Minister Harper, and the UN, KI chief and Council stated “we have to make it clear that we will not and cannot consent to any mining exploration in our traditional territory at this stage.”

“I cannot overemphasize the real clear danger that my people see when confronted by the threat of mining activity on our territory,” explained Chief Donny Morris. “KI stopped the Platinex exploration in our territory because it would have destroyed the watershed that our people depend on.”

In 2007 KI community members met Platinex officials at the airport and denied them entry to the territory while setting up a permanent camp at the mining claim area.  Platinex sued the community for $10 Billion, and KI chief Donny Morris and five other residents were sentenced to six months in jail in 2008 for civil contempt of court after refusing to allow Platinex to explore on their territory.  After serving almost 10 weeks in jail, and gaining international support, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in May, 2008 that the six-month sentences were too harsh and reduced them to time served.   KI continued to deny Platinex access to the territory, and Chief Donny Morris personally maneuvered a small motorboat to prevent a Platinex charter plane from landing on the lake.  In late 2009 Ontario bought out Platinex’s claim and promised not to develop them without community consent.

In the letter KI lays out a number of issues which must be recognized before mining exploration can be contemplated.  They include:

-KI has jurisdiction and control over their territory, they have final decision making power

-Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights have to be respected and Indigenous laws have to be followed

– KI studies on landuse and occupancy, TEK, and landuse plans must be completed

 -Full protection for the full Big Trout Lake watershed under KI law must be implemented and respected

-Full contaminants study, PCB source determination, clean up, and healing must be completed

-Free, prior, and informed consent, Conventions on Biodiversity, and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must all be respected

“Our work here will continue to promote the preservation and protection of KI Homelands completely,” said Jacob Ostaman, KI Director of Lands and Environment.  “Our antagonists will have to respect our position of complete reverence to our natural world and that their destructive ways must stop!”

 

CONTACT

Jacob Ostaman, KI Director of Lands and Resources:  807-537-2614 x.225