UOI OFFICES, NIPISSING FN, Oct. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - The Anishinabek Nation has concerns with the proposed changes to the Ontario Mining Act regulations that are to be in place November 1, and argues that it has not been adequately or meaningfully consulted or accommodated in their preparation.
"Anishinabek are in separate discussions that will affect how these regulations are interpreted and how they may change, based on our own process," says Lake Huron Regional Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River, who holds the Lands and Resources portfolio for the Anishinabek Nation leadership council.
The Anishinabek Nation is especially concerned with the revised Mining Act's proposed "Consultation and arrangements With Aboriginal Communities at Early Exploration" changes.
"The Union of Ontario Indians has analyzed the proposed regulations and determined that the majority of concerns identified in the 2009 Anishinabek Mining Strategy and the 2010-11 Regional Engagement Sessions have not been addressed and that our Aboriginal and Treaty rights may be significantly impacted by proposed regulations," says Chief Day. "A bilateral table and process is being established between Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. This will look at three main areas - Mining and Mining Act matters, Northern Growth Plan and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund issue."
The Anishinabek Mining Strategy outlines the major gaps in the proposed regulations and provides suggestions for an improved Nation-to-Nation Anishinabek- Ontario approach to sustainable mining resource management and development.
"Many of the proposed Mining Act changes will infringe on our constitutional rights, and disregard the recommendations from the Anishinabek Mining Strategy and the feedback from our community engagement sessions," says Chief Day."In preparation for a direct process with Ontario on mining issues, Chiefs will convene treaty-region roundtables this fall to ensure that First Nation issues are clearly presented in response to Ontario's mining regulations."
Anishinabek leaders recommended that First Nations be involved in the process from the outset and that they be provided with the opportunity for free, informed consent and the ability to reject a development that may have an adverse impact on their territory. First Nations also stressed that Closure Plan process provided assurances on land disturbance and remediation after the mine is closed out and requested guarantees in closure plans to reflect the previous quality of life that First Nation communities enjoyed.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
SOURCE: Anishinabek Nation
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