Whitesand First Nation Puts Ontario “On Notice” Over Mining Encroachment

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Whitesand First Nation

WHITESAND FN – In a formal letter issued today to the Ministers of Mines Pirie, Minister of Northern Development & Indigenous Affairs Rickford, and Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Piccini, Chief Allan Gustafson outlined the position of the Whitesand First Nation Chief & Council and membership regarding the Whitesand First Nation Homeland.

Whitesand Chief Allan Gustafson states, “Clearly, the Province of Ontario represented by these three Ministers are targeting the Treaty lands and resources of First Nations. Mining is a proceeding at an advanced pace, without ensuring the concerns, participation and inclusion of First Nations are part of a meaningful partnership or strategy. Whitesand First Nation has been prepared to be partners in the development of our Homeland and ensure the prosperity of our community and future generations. It is the message of Whitesand First Nation to Premier Doug Ford that Whitesand First Nation and our Homeland will not be exploited,.”

Whitesand First Nation is currently in the midst of extensive and significant mining exploration activities that are occurring within their identified Whitesand First Nation Homeland, located 246 kms northeast of the City of Thunder Bay.

Battery Age Minerals, Landore Resources, Green Tech Metals, LiCan Exploration Inc., Panther Metals/Broken Rock Resources, Prospector Metals and Nuinsco Resources, among others, are mining companies or entities that are currently being monitored by the Whitesand First Nation.

To date, the Whitesand First Nation is not satisfied with Ontario’s minimal approach to the duty to consult and accommodate that is required to be conducted with respect to the impacts that are about to occur to the People of Whitesand First Nation and their identified Homeland. The encroachment of mining companies at their various stages is occurring at the same time as Ontario’s proposed Bill 71- Build More Mines Act that will increase the speed and access of industry and investors to the Homeland. The Whitesand First Nation was not consulted on the proposed legislative amendments – reiterating the stated position of First Nations that Ontario must be held accountable for its exploitive and aggressive approach to mining in First Nations Treaty lands, traditional territories, and homelands contrary to the principles of reconciliation and the effect on Treaty rights.

The Whitesand First Nation letter to the three provincial ministers states that no future activities will occur in the Whitesand First Nation Homelands without consultation with the First Nation, and a halt is now in place until further notice from the Whitesand First Nation. 

Key Concern Summary:

Encroachment into Whitesand First Nation Homeland by mining companies via Ontario’s minimal approach to duty to consult and accommodate, and Whitesand First Nation’s legitimate position and requirements for respect of proper engagement, protocol and approvals. The issue is further complicated by Ontario’s Bill 71 – Building More Mines Act which will speed up access to the Homeland.