UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC, July 30, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Innu First
Nation of Uashat Mak Mani-utenam filed another lawsuit on July 22,
2013, this time in Federal Court, in regard to Rio Tinto's IOC mining
project (in addition to the CAD$900 suit filed on March 18, 2013).
While IOC (majority-owned by Rio Tinto) continues to violate the
Canadian Aboriginal group's rights, destroy their environment and
intrude on their territory, IOC has announced that the company seeks to
open a whole new mine (called Wabush 3) next to their current project
in Western Labrador.
Not only would such a new mine be a clear violation of the Aboriginal
group's constitutionally protected and internationally recognized
indigenous rights but, in addition, IOC is attempting to avoid an
environmental assessment and review of the new mine. The Innu First
Nation of Uashat Mak Mani-utenam had no other choice therefore but to
file another lawsuit respecting IOC's activities to attempt to stop
such undermining of Canadian environmental laws.
"IOC has clearly become a rogue entity. Not only is IOC the only mining
operator on the Uashat Mak Mani-utenam traditional territory without an
agreement with our people (4 other agreements with other mining
companies), but here it is involved with flagrantly violating Canadian
environmental law in an attempt to push their new project through at
any cost," stated Mike McKenzie, Chief of the Innu First Nation of
Uashat Mak Mani-utenam.
In truly absurd and galling fashion, IOC has described their new mine as
a "groundwater extraction project" for purposes of the federal
environmental assessment process. As a result, instead of studying and
addressing the impacts of the new mine, including on the Aboriginal
group, the only impacts that would be considered in the environmental
assessment would be those in relation to removing the water that
infiltrates into the mining pit.
IOC takes the position, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, that the new mine is not a mine. Not even an expansion of its current activities. If such a project is
not a mine, it's not clear what project would qualify as one given that
the new project will dig up over 1.3 billion tonnes of earth and will
take up 464 hectares of land - the equivalent of approximately 870 NFL
And yet Rio Tinto and IOC consider that the new mine is but a "water
The new Federal Court proceeding takes issue with that position and asks
the Court to overrule Canada's acceptance of such position. Such an
attempt to circumvent environmental laws is all the more troubling
given the continued toll that IOC's mining operations are taking on the
environment. For example, without taking into account IOC's ongoing
(illegal) expansion projects, IOC's mining activities in Labrador
already account for close to 15% of the total greenhouse gas emissions
of the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Rio Tinto and IOC's violations of our indigenous rights and their
egregious environmental conduct should raise red flags for any
potential purchaser of Rio Tinto's shares in IOC, including in respect
of how such transgressions would violate the Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) codes of conduct of potential investors,"
concluded Chief Mike McKenzie.
SOURCE: Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM)
For further information:
Uashat Mak Mani-utenam
Jean-Claude Therrien Pinette