UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC, April 12, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-utenam (ITUM) Council is happy to announce the signing of an impact benefit agreement (IBA) with Quebec Iron Ore (QIO), a subsidiary of Champion Iron Ltd. The agreement specifically concerns the reopening of operations at the Bloom Lake iron mine near Fermont, Quebec and is valid for the lifetime of the mine.
With this signature, ITUM and QIO renew and improve the framework that was approved in 2008 by the community in a referendum. This framework includes financial and socio-economic benefits, as well as training, employment and contracting opportunities for community members. It should be noted that the current agreement represents a significant improvement over the initial one with respect to environmental protection measures and ITUM's monitoring of same. "Beyond the economic aspect and the benefits for the community, the protection of the environment is fundamental for the Innu. The balance between sustainable development and the preservation of the territory reflects our values and we are pleased to be working with the QIO in that regard," said Chief Mike Mckenzie.
"Working with good corporate citizens"
ITUM wishes to remind both government and industry that the Innu cannot be ignored when it comes to matters of hydroelectric, forestry and mining developments on its territory, and that international law recognizes that Indigenous peoples have rights, including in respect of the free, prior and informed consent in relation to development on their ancestral territories.
"The rule for us is clear: if a company wants to develop our natural resources, it has to respect our rights as the inheritors of our territory - our Nitassinan. Some companies persist in not respecting our rights, while others, such as Champion Iron, act as responsible, law-abiding corporate citizens, respectful of First Nations' rights. The partnership with Champion Iron is a positive example of collaboration between First Nations and industry and this approach must influence other businesses on our traditional lands," said Chief Mckenzie.
SOURCE Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM)
For further information: Jean-Claude Therrien Pinette, Director, Office of the protection of rights and territory, ITUM, 418-409-5681, [email protected]