Media Advisory - Federal government's move to settle Aboriginal land claims is welcome

    TORONTO, June 13 /CNW/ - The Prospectors and Developers Association of
Canada (PDAC) expressed its support for the Government of Canada's plans,
outlined yesterday, to move towards the settlement of Aboriginal land claims.
    "We see this as a very positive step," said Patricia Dillon, president of
the PDAC. "There are currently over 800 land claims in Canada awaiting
resolution, and we applaud the federal government for taking the initiative to
establish an independent commission and allocate additional funds to settle
these claims."
    Some 1,200 aboriginal communities are located within 200 km of 180
producing mines and 2,500 active exploration properties across Canada, and the
mineral industry is today the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal
Canadians. "Our industry offers the best potential of any industrial sector
for the creation of wealth and prosperity to help these communities become
economically sustainable in the long term," said Dillon.
    Access to prospective land and security of mineral tenure are important
requisites for mineral exploration. "In order to achieve these, consultation
with local communities is key. However, there have been misunderstandings
caused principally by the uncertainty of unsettled land claims. We believe
that settlement of claims will offer Aboriginal communities and mineral
exploration companies a sounder footing for cooperation and negotiation," said
Donald Bubar, chairman of the PDAC's aboriginal affairs committee.
    Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, also
expressed his optimism. "Land is part of the answer to building strong First
Nations economies and strong First Nations citizens," he said. "This requires
that we have the ability to take control of the decisions that affect our
lives so we can reduce dependency and foster self-sufficiency. In doing so, we
will build a stronger Canada for all Canadians."
    Chief Fontaine noted the importance of the resource industry in providing
opportunities for First Nations employment, investment and business
development and endorses the PDAC's position that governments share with
Aboriginal communities the revenues that come from the extraction or use of
natural resources.

    The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada is a national
association representing the interests of the mineral exploration and
development industry. Its 7,000 members include junior exploration and senior
mining companies; prospectors and geoscientists; industry executives and
students; members of the financial, legal and academic communities; and
suppliers to the mineral industry.

For further information:

For further information: MaryAnn Mihychuk, Tel: (416) 362-1969, ext.

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Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada

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