MONTRÉAL, Oct. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), the Cree Regional Authority, the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi and Eagle Hill Exploration Corporation ("Eagle Hill") announce the signing of an advanced exploration agreement on October 24, 2012 regarding the future development and operation of the company's Windfall Lake gold mining project in Eeyou Istchee.
The Council of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi approved the agreement on June 18, 2012. The approval of the agreement by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Cree Regional Authority on August 8, 2012 represents the support of the Cree Nation as a whole, and ensures a stable environment for the future development and operation of the Windfall Lake gold mining project.
The official signing ceremony shall take place in Montréal, Québec, on October 24, 2012.
The agreement reflects the parties' common desire to promote a cooperative and mutually respectful relationship concerning the exploration and pre-development activities of Eagle Hill for the project in Eeyou Istchee Territory. Eagle Hill has undertaken to provide preferential treatment to Cree enterprises in awarding contracts for the supply of goods and services and has undertaken, with the collaboration of Cree parties, to define the terms of reference and conduct a business and employment capacity study to assess the business and employment capacity within Waswanipi and other Cree communities. Eagle Hill shall also open a business development office in Waswanipi.
The Crees have agreed to support the project and to cooperate with Eagle Hill in the preparation of environmental and social impact assessment studies for all components of the project. The Crees are also committed to use their best efforts to ensure that the project proceeds through the environmental and social assessment process provided in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, and, where environmental and social concerns are met, to assist Eagle Hill in obtaining required governmental approvals.
Finally, the Parties have agreed to continue discussions towards concluding a Social and Economic Participation Agreement with respect to the Windfall Lake mining project.
"Through the adoption of the Cree Nation Mining Policy and the execution of this Agreement, we have undertaken to support and participate in mining exploration within our Traditional Territory." said Dr. Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee). "This agreement marks the beginning of a collaborative and fruitful relationship between the Crees and Eagle Hill, a relationship based on an alignment of interests, founded on environmental and economic sustainability and the respect of Cree rights. The Crees and Eagle Hill will continue to cooperate towards the conclusion of a final agreement reflecting the active participation of the Crees, as partners, in the economic and social development of Eeyou Istchee."
Mr. Paul Gull, Chief of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, stated: "Our community and the Council of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi are eager to collaborate with the mineral exploration and mining industry. We recognize that this industry has a corporate social responsibility to follow in the footsteps of Eagle Hill. The signing of this agreement ensures that there will be meaningful participation by our local members without sacrificing sustainability. It is an important step for all parties."
About the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political body that represents the approximately 18,000 Crees or "Eeyouch" ("Eenouch"). The Council is constituted of twenty (20) members including: the Grand Chief and Deputy-Grand Chief elected at large by the Eeyouch, the chiefs elected by each of the nine (9) recognized Cree communities, and one (1) other representative elected by each community.
About the Cree Regional Authority
The Cree Regional Authority (CRA), set up by virtue of the signing of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement as the administrative body of the Cree Nation Government, is responsible for environmental protection, the hunting, fishing and trapping regime, economic and community development, Cree governance and other matters as decided by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of the CRA is the same joint governing body that manages the Grand Council of the Crees and is referred to as the "Council/Board".
About the Cree Nation of Waswanipi
Waswanipi, a Cree local government constituted as a corporation under the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act, is located near the confluence of the Opawica and Chibougamau rivers and Waswanipi Lake. Waswanipi means "Light on the Water", historically, members of the community used torch lights, fuelled by pine tar, to spear and catch sturgeon that had gathered to spawn at the mouth of Waswanipi Lake. The community has a population of approximately 1,600 members represented by Chief Paul Gull, a Deputy Chief and six (6) band council members elected every four (4) years. As the southernmost Cree community, it is the gateway to Northern Quebec.
SOURCE: Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
For further information:
Abel Bosum, GCC(EI)/CRA, Tel.: (514) 774-7077;
Robert L. Ottereyes, Negotiator/Liaison, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, Tel.: (819) 218-2533