PDAC 2012: Ontario tries to avoid PR disaster with First Nations

Mar 5, 2012 – 8:19 AM ET

Miners in Ontario already are well familiar the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation community. A few years ago, six of their members were arrested when they opposed a company called Platinex Ltd. that wanted to explore on their lands. Platinex received $5-million from the Ontario government to end the dispute, and the whole situation was a black eye for the province’s mining industry.

Now the KI are angry again. This time their target is God’s Lake Resources Inc., a tiny firm on the Canadian National Stock Exchange that they say is planning to work on their sacred burial ground. They are planning a major protest outside the Convention Centre on Tuesday.

The last thing the Ontario government wants is another fight with the KI, especially while Toronto plays host to the mining world at PDAC. So it was not a surprise to see the government put out a statement Sunday saying that it has withdrawn all lands near the KI from prospecting and mineral staking. It noted that it tried to facilitate communications between the two groups, and that the move does not affect God’s Lake’s existing claims. The withdrawn area covers 23,181 square kilometres.