VAL D'OR, QC, Nov. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), the Cree Regional Authority, the Cree Nation of Eastmain and Critical Elements Corporation announce that they have entered into a pre-development agreement on November 12, 2012 regarding the future development and operation of the company's Rose-Tantalum-Lithium project in Eeyou Istchee.
The Council of the Cree Nation of Eastmain approved the agreement on May 28, 2012. The approval of the agreement by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Cree Regional Authority on October 23, 2012 represents the support of the Cree Nation as a whole, and ensures a stable environment for the future development and operation of the company's project.
The official signing ceremony is taking place in Val d'Or, Québec on November 12, 2012.
Through this agreement, the parties have agreed to promote a cooperative and mutually respectful relationship concerning the exploration and pre-development activities of Critical Elements Corporation in respect of the project in Eeyou Istchee Territory. Critical Elements Corporation has undertaken to provide preferential treatment to Cree enterprises in the awarding of certain contracts for the supply of goods.
The Crees have agreed to support the project and to cooperate with Critical Elements Corporation in the preparation of all necessary environmental and social impact assessment studies for all components of the project. The Crees have also committed to use their best efforts to ensure that the project proceeds through the environmental and social assessment process provided for in the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and, if the environmental and social concerns are met, to assist Critical Elements Corporation in obtaining the required governmental approvals.
Finally, the Parties have agreed to continue their discussions to develop and sign an Impacts and Benefits Agreement with respect to the Rose-Tantalum-Lithium mining project.
"Through the adoption of the Cree Nation Mining Policy and the execution of this Agreement, we have undertaken to support and participate in mining exploration within our Traditional Territory." said Dr. Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee). "This agreement marks the beginning of a collaborative and fruitful relationship between the Crees and Critical Elements Corporation, a relationship based on an alignment of interests, founded on environmental and economic sustainability and the respect of Cree rights. The Crees and Critical Elements Corporation will continue to cooperate towards the conclusion of a final agreement reflecting the active participation of the Crees, as partners, in the economic and social development of Eeyou Istchee."
Mr. Edward Gilpin, Chief of the Cree Nation of Eastmain, stated: "It is always difficult to accept development projects that will forever change the landscape of an area that has for a long time contributed to the survival and welfare of the families that have trapped and hunted there. With a growing population of young families in the community of Eastmain, many jobs will be required. We hope that the signing of this PDA will lead to a good Impacts and Benefits Agreement in the near future."
About the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political body that represents the approximately 18,000 Crees or "Eeyouch" ("Eenouch" - inland dialect). The Council is constituted of twenty (20) members including: a Grand Chief and Deputy-Grand Chief elected at large by the Eeyouch, the chiefs elected by each of the nine (9) recognized Cree communities, and one (1) other representative elected by each community.
About the Cree Regional Authority
The Cree Regional Authority (CRA) was set up by virtue of the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement as the administrative arm of the Cree Nation Government. It has responsibilities in respect to environmental protection, the hunting, fishing and trapping regime, economic and community development, Cree governance and other matters as decided by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of the CRA is the same joint governing body that manages the Grand Council of the Crees and is referred to as the "Council/Board".
About the Cree Nation of Eastmain
The Cree Nation of Eastmain is located on the Eastern shore of James Bay, at the mouth of the Eastmain River, in Eeyou Istchee, Northern Québec. It is responsible for providing municipal type services and programs as well as overseeing contracts providing federal, provincial and regional services within the community. With just over 700 people, it is the smallest of the Cree communities of Eeyou Istchee. With 65% of its population under the age of 30, it is a young and dynamic community. Eastmain is in a period of positive economic change with the construction industry leading the way. New capital facilities are being built and an aggressive housing development campaign is fostering opportunities for community members to prosper economically, socially and culturally.
SOURCE: Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
Mr. Abel Bosum, GCC(EI)/CRA, Tel.: (514) 774-7077;
Chief Edward Gilpin, Cree Nation of Eastmain, Tel.: (819) 977-0211