Crees to contest effort by Strateco to circumvent treaty process

NEMASKA, QC, Jan. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Strateco Resources announced yesterday that it has commenced legal proceedings to force Environment Quebec to issue a decision concerning the authorization of the Matoush advanced uranium exploration project.  The proceedings also seek to void one of the conditions recommended by COMEX, the joint Cree-Quebec environmental review panel established by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) treaty, that Strateco demonstrate the social acceptability of its project by concluding a written agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini.

The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee has consistently stated its opposition to uranium mining in all its forms in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory.  In August 2012, the Cree Nation enacted a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration, mining, milling and waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee. The risks to the environment and human health created by uranium mining and waste are unique in scale and duration, and represent a burden on future generations that the Cree Nation is not prepared to assume.

"The Cree Nation fully supports environmentally and socially sustainable and equitable development in our territory, including mining," said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. "At the same time, the importance of social acceptability of proposed development projects in Eeyou Istchee has long been recognized by Quebec, and was reaffirmed in the Paix des Braves agreement of 2002. This fundamental principle is properly reflected in COMEX's recommendation concerning the Matoush project."

"In commencing this legal action, Strateco is seeking to circumvent the Cree Nation's treaty rights, particularly the treaty process of environmental and social impact assessment under the JBNQA, and force a decision in its favour," Grand Chief Coon Come noted. "Strateco is mistaken in insisting that the federal authorizations that it has obtained to date entitle it to an authorization from Environment Quebec. The federal authorizations cannot determine whether uranium mining and uranium waste are acceptable for the Cree Nation and for Quebec."

The Cree Nation's position regarding uranium mining is widely shared in Quebec.  The Cree Nation stands with over 300 municipalities who have stated their strong opposition to uranium mining. "An independent and broad study of the uranium industry is urgently required," Grand Chief Coon Come stated. "We are confident that when Quebecers learn and consider the true facts about uranium mining and waste, they will join us in our moratorium stand. The Cree Nation will take all necessary steps to protect our health, our environment and our treaty rights, and intends to participate in the court proceedings commenced by Strateco."

SOURCE: Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

For further information:

Bill Namagoose, Executive Director
Telephone: (613) 761-1655
Cellular: (613) 725-7024

Tina Petawabano, Director of Quebec Relations
Telephone: (418) 691-1111
Cellular: (418) 770-3132

Jessica Orkin
Legal Counsel
Telephone: (514) 260-2622