ENVIRONMENT AND MINING
Minister: Ed Charrier
Despite the recent recession, there is still much optimism in the mining sectors to invest in Manitoba’s potential for high-grade minerals and precious metals. Exploration saw a steep climb in 2007, and although it has since leveled off due to the current markets, many analysts predict future increases in the stock market. It is, therefore, prudent that the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) remains involved in creating relationships within the mining sector.
Victory Nickel is now ready to lay the groundwork to develop the proposed Minago mine, located 100 kilometres north of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. Its projected life cycle is estimated at 14 to 16 years, beginning with an open pit to remove, stockpile and transport “frac sand” that is a valuable product in the oil industry. There is also potential to produce limestone commodities for an interested market. Later, the mine will go underground to extract the nickel that core samples have shown to be of above-average quality.
Minago represents a huge opportunity for employment, as the predicted work force is at around 450 to 600 employees. There is also huge potential for other contracting services, such as camp services providers, transport of mined materials (frac sand) and other businesses.
The MMF has met with Victory Nickel representatives several times recently and is looking forward to signing a memorandum of understanding very soon in the future.
Mustang Minerals Corp. has recently announced a project update, as well as results from exploration drilling at the Maskwa Nickel Project located near Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. The current reserve at this location is sufficient to predict a mine life of seven to ten years. This mine represents further opportunities for the Metis labour force to obtain employment in the mining sector.
The MMF was invited by Vale Inco Limited to sit on the Community Liaison Committee in Thompson, Manitoba. This opportunity will further cement relationships with this mining giant towards sharing information on socio-economics, economic development, environmental conservation and restoration, as well as work education and human development.
Crowflight Minerals Inc.’s Bucko Lake Nickel Mine near Wabowden, Manitoba began full commercial production in the second quarter in 2009. The MMF plans to meet with representatives of Crowflight in the near future.
Five Environmental Engagement Process workshops were attended by the mining coordinator. The purpose of the workshops was to develop relationships, to improve capacity and to achieve timely and effective engagement in the federal environmental assessment process. Other plans include attending an Aboriginal mining and minerals conference in Toronto as well as a mining and mineral conference in Winnipeg.
Environmental sustainability remains to be of importance to the Metis people of Manitoba when it comes to any proposed development within the province, be it mining, hydro development or access roads. Of course, we have to balance economic future development with environmental impacts, and so we strive to protect for the future generations our natural resources in any negotiations we engage in with both the province and other industry.
Consultation on Consultation
In 2008, the federal government began a process that would address this duty to consult and accommodate in a more complete response. The engagement on consultation and accommodation initiatives being undertaken are based on court decisions that require governments to ensure that Aboriginal perspectives are considered when projects will have an impact on Aboriginal ways of life.
A series of workshops took place in each of the MMF Regions. Presentations were given at each workshop and were designed to address the Crown’s new initiatives to engage Aboriginal peoples on consultation and accommodation. Some of the consultation workshops were integrated into previously planned regional meetings hosted by the specific Region. Representatives from all Locals attended these meetings. The other workshops were stand-alone meetings with representatives from the members of local representatives. Both types of meetings were coordinated through the host Regional office.
A questionnaire was prepared so that specific issues surrounding consultation and accommodation could be quantified and analyzed. The responses to the questions in the questionnaire laid the foundation for the recommendations to the Office of the Federal Interlocutor on a Metis-specific consultation and accommodation course of action. This questionnaire was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, which contained the specific questions.
And so, it is with determination that the Metis people of Manitoba voice our concerns to ensure that any project takes into account its effects on our precious natural resources. The MMF is committed to monitor industry and government through its negotiations against long-term negative impacts from unfettered development and to engage wherever possible to be proactive for the benefit of our environment.
Last Updated (Friday, 15 January 2010 15:01)
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