THUNDER BAY – Over the past weeks, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation Chief Donny Morris has been seeking to get the attention of the Ontario Government over concerns of mining activity. In specific, the concerns have been raised over mining exploration on Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) lands. Today, Ontario has withdrawn lands in the vicinity of KI from prospecting and mining claim staking to give clarity to the province’s mineral exploration industry and avoid future disagreements over the land in question.
“Our government’s goal is to ensure that all affected parties have the opportunity to benefit from the province’s immense mineral wealth potential. When industry and First Nations communities work together on the basis of mutual respect and understanding, all parties see the economic benefits,” stated Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Chief Morris states, “The spirit of interest to work together from the Ontario side is not there. I am afraid it is going to escalate… I want this thing stopped.”
KI asserts jurisdiction over the land and has asked for a moratorium on mineral exploration and development. The withdrawn area is 23,181 square kilometres.
Leaders from KI will be in Toronto this week protesting at the world’s leading mining exploration Convention (PDAC) to insist that mining company God’s Lake Resources Inc. (GLR) stop prospecting for gold on sacred burial grounds in the KI Homeland. The KI First Nation states, “Minister Bartolucci has indicated that GLR plans to explore on KI Homeland this month”.
KI gained national attention in 2008 when six of its leaders were jailed for opposing mining company Platinex.
Major unions and NGOs are joining forces with KI to insist that Minister Bartoluccui stop exploration on KI’s land before Ontario taxpayers have to foot the bill. In 2009, Platinex received $5-million plus mediation for ceding their claim to KI Lands.
The Ontario Government in a media release says it “has made several attempts to facilitate communication between KI and God’s Lake Resources (GLR), a junior mineral exploration company that holds a mining lease and mining claims in the vicinity of KI, north of Red Lake in Northwestern Ontario. The company’s existing mining lease and mining claims are not affected by the withdrawal”.
The government states it remains committed to continuing discussions with both parties.