Three year Stand-off ultimately ends in Victory for KI
TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - CPAWS Wildlands League, a leading conservation group in the province, welcomes the announcement by Ontario to resolve the mineral exploration dispute with Platinex.
"We are relieved that the lawsuits have been dropped, the claims and leases surrendered and that the contested area will be withdrawn from staking," says Janet Sumner, Executive Director. "We can all breathe a big sigh of relief that further conflict will be avoided here. It's a fabulous Christmas present to the community," added Sumner.
The group commends KI for its long principled stand on protecting its lands and waters so that their children and grandchildren can continue to use the lands and resources to pursue their usual vocations of hunting, trapping, and fishing. The group would also like to acknowledge the efforts Ontario made in the last several months to resolve the conflict.
"We are pleased Ontario took steps to withdraw the lands and to resolve this unfortunate conflict," said Anna Baggio of CPAWS Wildlands League. "However, we obviously do not like to see companies being rewarded for aggressive behaviour towards communities. Perhaps Platinex will consider donating some or all of that money to KI in an effort to repair relations and to begin to address the pain that they have caused," Baggio adds.
Platinex sued the community of KI for $10 Billion after it refused to allow the company to drill on its lands. Early last year, leaders from the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, known as the KI Six, were then jailed for peacefully opposing mineral exploration on their lands in the Boreal Forest (located 600km north of Thunder Bay). Cecilia Begg, Head Councillor from KI, a grandmother and five other leaders, including Chief Donnie Morris, were sentenced to six months in jail.
The group is worried that the $5 million buy-out is not a sustainable way of doing business. "Clearly we need to plan in advance and avoid these costly tax-payer burdens in future," said Sumner. "Communities need to be front and centre and have their 'right to say no' respected in planning and in any proposed resource development project", the group contends.
"Five million dollars could help a lot of communities plan for their lands as the Premier intended with his announcement from last July in advance of the march of resource development," Baggio concluded.
SOURCE CANADIAN PARKS AND WILDERNESS SOCIETY
For further information: For further information: Janet Sumner, Executive Director, (416) 579-7370; Anna Baggio, Director, Conservation Land Use Planning, (416) 453-3285