After meeting with the Chief and Council of Norway House, representatives from Manitoba’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines announced they will be suspending a drilling permit issued to Victory Nickel for their Minago Nickel Project. To date, the Manitoba government has issued three permits to Victory Nickel, however they did not consult or notify Norway House Cree doing so.
In a Press Release dated Feb. 22, Norway House Chief Marcel Balfour points out that under section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act, “governments are required to consult First Nations when they are contemplating conduct that may adversely impact aboriginal or treaty rights.”
Chief Balfour stated, “We made it clear to the representatives from Manitoba that they had broken the law by issuing those permits without properly consulting us. We are very pleased that Manitoba has suspended the drilling as this is a good first step towards developing our relationship with the Crown on mining issues.”
Further discussions are planned between Norway House Cree Nation and Manitoba towards development of an appropriate consultation and accommodation process on mining in the First Nation’s traditional lands. However, talks with Victory Nickel remain at a standstill. “They still refuse to engage with us on a without prejudice basis so we will simply focus our concerns on dialogue with Crown,” said Chief Balfour.
Norway House Cree Nation is located at the northern side of Lake Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba with a membership of over five thousand. It is a signatory to Treaty 5 with the federal government and has had its treaty
rights confirmed by Canada and Manitoba in the 1977 Northern Flood Agreement and in the 1997 Master Implementation Agreement.
As of February 25, Victory Nickel, a Toronto-based mining company, says they have not yet received any “formal notification or explanation from the Government of Manitoba regarding the suspension of any of its permits or licences;” adding, however, that they have “no intention of drilling on the Minago site in the absence of the required permits, and will comply with any lawful suspension when it is formally issued.”
For more information, you can contact Chief Marcel Balfour, Norway House Cree Nation, (204) 232-9990
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