NAN calls for fair trade standards in mining

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand
Chief Alvin Fiddler delivered a statement to participants of the Rapaport
International Mining Conference today in New York City calling on diamond
exploration and mining companies to meet basic operating standards in terms of
accommodation and consultation with First Nations within NAN territory - an
area covering two thirds of Ontario.
    "There needs to be a meaningful dialogue between Chiefs and councils, the
Province of Ontario, and with industries regarding Aboriginal and treaty
rights," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "When it comes to
extraction and exploitation of the natural resources in the backyards and
traditional territories of our people, clear and agreed upon standards must be
    During the conference Fiddler distributed the following standards he
hopes will end the failure of both the Government of Ontario and industries to
acknowledge the various supreme court rulings, including Mikisew (November
2005), regarding the need to consult and accommodate First Nations prior to

    -  Respect for aboriginal, treaty rights and basic human rights outlined
       in international conventions and Canadian law
    -  Free, prior, and informed consent of affected First Nation communities
    -  Respect for moratoriums
    -  Ensure exploration and mining operations are not located in areas of
       disputed land claims, unresolved community overlap areas, or other
       places of conflict
    -  Ensure exploration and mining projects do not force communities off
       their lands
    -  No dumping of mine wastes into oceans, rivers, lakes, or streams
    -  Ensure exploration and mining projects are not located in sacred or
       spiritual sites, community protected areas, fragile ecosystems, and
       conservation or ecological value
    -  Ensure community land use planning takes place before exploration and
       mining commences
    -  Ensure projects do not generate sulphuric acid or other persistent
       pollutants in perpetuity
    -  Mining companies cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine
    -  Fully disclosed information regarding social and environmental effects
       of projects
    -  Ensure First Nations equitably share in wealth generated from the
       exploration and development of their traditional lands
    -  Safe working conditions
    -  Respect for aboriginal workers' rights and culturally sensitive labour
    -  Allowance for independent monitoring and verification of the above

    Delegates of the conference participated in discussion and debate with
leading NGOs, government development experts, and leaders of the diamond trade
regarding ethical sourcing, corporate responsibility, and what the diamond
industry can and should do to help the poorest people in the world.

    The Rapaport Group drives sustainable economic development in the poorest
countries of the world and is committed to using economic power and strategic
positioning in the diamond and jewellery industry to help artisanal diggers
and other disadvantaged groups obtain economic self sufficiency.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is an Aboriginal political organization
representing 49 First Nation communities within the territory of James Bay
Treaty 9 and Ontario First Nations of Treaty 5. This area covers over
two-thirds of the province of Ontario and is home to approximately 45,000

For further information:

For further information: Kristy Hankila, Communications Assistant,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4902, (807) 472-9604 (mobile)

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