Landmark decision for Canadian indigenous community

Landmark decision for Canadian indigenous community

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August 15, 2006

Published in: Legalbrief Today, Issue No: 1642

A remote northern Ontario Aboriginal community has won the first stage of a controversial legal battle that could have major repercussions for mining and resource extraction operations throughout the province, according to a report on the minesandcommunities site.

In May, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) launched a lawsuit to counter a $10bn case filed against them by an Ontario mineral exploration company, Platinex, that wants to exploit platinum deposits located within KI’s traditional territory. The landmark decision from Judge GP Smith of the Ontario Superior Court represents one of the most important victories empowering Aboriginal communities in Ontario’s judicial history. The decision states that Platinex is to a large degree the author of its own misfortune and that because of the huge cultural and spiritual importance of the land to the KI people, ‘no award of damages could possible compensate KI’ for losses of these values if development were to occur. With the decision the Court granted KI an injunction, thereby preventing the company from continuing work within KI’s traditional territory. The decision immediately forces the parties back to the table to engage in a consultation process. The parties are to appear before Judge Smith in five months time to report on their progress.

Full report on the minesandcommunities site

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