NORWAY HOUSE CREE NATION, MB, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - Today, the Norway House
Cree Nation ("Norway House") announced that they were pleased with the
Manitoba Government's decision to suspend a drilling permit it issued to
Victory Nickel Inc. for the Minago Project. The decision came after the
Manitoba Director of Mines acknowledged the absence of notice or consultation
with Norway House prior to issuing the approval.
On February 21st, the Chief and Council of Norway House, met with
representatives from Manitoba's Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and
Mines and learned that three permits had been issued to Victory Nickel without
any prior notice or consultation. Most notably, one of the permits was a
borehole licence which is required to conduct exploration drilling planned for
Chief Marcel Balfour pointed out that Norway House took issue with the
issuance of these permits since under section 35 of the Constitution Act,
1982, governments are required to consult First Nations when they are
contemplating conduct that may adversely impact aboriginal or treaty rights.
Chief Balfour stated, "We made it clear to the representatives from Manitoba
that they had broken the law by issuing those permits without properly
consulting us. We are very pleased that Manitoba has suspended the drilling as
this is a good first step towards developing our relationship with the Crown
on mining issues."
Further discussions are planned between Norway House Cree Nation and
Manitoba towards development of an appropriate consultation and accommodation
process on mining in the First Nation's traditional lands. However, talks with
Victory Nickel remain at a standstill. "They still refuse to engage with us on
a without prejudice basis so we will simply focus our concerns on dialogue
with Crown," said Chief Balfour.
Norway House Cree Nation is located at the northern side of Lake Winnipeg
in the province of Manitoba with a membership of over five thousand. It is a
signatory to Treaty 5 with the federal government and has had its treaty
rights confirmed by Canada and Manitoba in the 1977 Northern Flood Agreement
and in the 1997 Master Implementation Agreement.
Victory Nickel Inc. (TSX:Ni) is a Toronto-based publicly traded mineral
exploration company that wishes to develop the Minago Project, a nickel
deposit located in the traditional territory of the Norway House Cree Nation.
For further information:
For further information: Chief Marcel Balfour, Norway House Cree Nation,