MAYO, YT, Aug. 17 /CNW/ - Today, the First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun
("NNDFN") announced that they are suspending all regulatory dialogue with
respect to Keno Hill Mines until suitable consultation and accommodation can
be arranged with other governments.
"Governments have excluded us from any meaningful dialogue related to
Elsa/Alexco proposed redevelopment of the Keno Hill Mines," says Simon Mervyn,
Chief of the First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun. "Although we have had some
discussions in the past, they were "courtesy consultations" and only paid lip
service to our rights while the government eagerly cooperates with Alexco in
furthering its objectives. Our First Nations people have used these lands for
generations and we intend to be fully involved in the decision making process
regarding their reclamation and redevelopment."
In June 2005 both the government of Canada and the Yukon territorial
government approved the transfer of the Keno Hill assets to Alexco Resources
Inc., through its subsidiary, Elsa Reclamation and Development Company. The
interim closing took place in April 2006. The recent decision of the Supreme
Court of the Yukon in the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation vs Government of
Yukon case established that there must be a "government to government
dialogue" with respect to Crown approvals and transfers within the traditional
territories of self-governing First Nations. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun is concerned
that the Crown continues to cooperate with Elsa in a process that does not
appropriately facilitate First Nation participation. "We have done our best to
take part in processes which have not been designed to include First Nations
and do not take in to consideration our capacity, the Crown has bent over
backwards to permit regulatory review of the Keno Hill project according to
Elsa's time frames."
"It is time for the governments to properly and meaningfully come to the
table to address First Nation rights before any more decisions take place with
respect to Keno Hill.
In a recent letter to the Federal and Territorial Governments expressing
concern about the Na-Cho Nyak Dun's lack of participation in regulatory
dialogue Chief Mervyn stated "Until such time that there is a process and
funding for the Na-Cho Nyak Dun to independently evaluate, assess and
contribute towards all ongoing regulatory processes with respect to the
proposed redevelopment of Keno Hill, we have no other option but to withdraw
from the processes".
The First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun is a First Nation in the Yukon
Territory of Canada whose main population resides in Mayo, Yukon. The Na-Cho
Nyak Dun is a member of the Council of Yukon First Nations and was one of four
First Nations to sign the Self Governing Agreement in 1993.
For further information:
For further information: Ellenise Profeit, Executive Assistant, First
Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, (867) 996-2265