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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN CANADA RESISTS URANIUM EXPLORATION

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#658
13/07/2007
Article

(June 21, 2007) Since 28 June, the Algonquin First Nations, along with non-natives, have occupied a proposed mining site at Robertsville. The site is located north of Sarbot Lake in Northern Frontenac County in eastern Ontario and is targeted in order to prevent the Frontenac Ventures Corporation from carrying on operations that have been underway for a year.

(658.5815) Laka Foundation - The Robertsville site includes an ore processing mill and some other buildings, which were cordoned off by the First Nations, who have established a camp in the area behind the front gate. From 29 June to 2 July the information picket remained in place, and the area behind the gate gradually developed into a more organized camp, with several tents and trailers in place, a parking area, and two cooking and food storage canopies. On the afternoon of 8 July, nearly 300 protesters held a march against uranium mining in the Crotch Lake region.

Frontenac Ventures Corporation (Frontec) has been renting a building on the site as their base of operations and have been improving and using an access road that runs west from the mine site to explore a uranium deposit on 30,000 acres of land that they have staked in the region. The majority of staked land is Crown land, and the rest is private land. The corporation has put its operations on hold in Northern Frontenac County, leaving residents with mixed feelings. On 7 July, the uranium mining company left North Frontenac Township after local First Nations threatened to hold a day or multiple days of protest. The land is part of the territory traditionally claimed by the Sharbot Lake and Ardoch Algonquins. A map of the area that will be most affected by the mining is found on the website of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (http://www.aafna.ca/). The area is part of a huge territory that is covered by Royal Proclamation from 1763 which reserves the Ottawa Valley for Algonquin use, a royal proclamation that has never been rescinded. A land claims process over the land has been underway between two levels of government and Algonquin representatives since 1992.

Both the Sharbot Lake Algonquin First Nation and the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation say they are opposed to the Frontenac plans to develop uranium deposits in the area. They consider the area as their "Sacred Territory". In statements on their website they refer to own experiences: "Indigenous people have been disproportionately affected by the international nuclear weapon and fuel industry. The Nuclear fuel chain poisons our people, land, air and waters. It threatens our very existence and our future generations." And give some facts: "The Environmental effects of Uranium mining include the contamination of ground water with dissolved metals and radioactive materials, dispersal of radioactive dusts, and releases of radioactive gas into the air. When uranium ore is processed, 85% of the radioactivity is left behind in the tailings, and must be managed safely for hundreds of thousands of years."

Sources: Ottawa Citizen 8 July, 2007; Ottawa Sun 9 July, 2007 / CBC 25 June, 2007
Six days at the Robertsville mine: anti-uranium action could last indefinitely / http://www.newsweb.ca/2007/July_5/Six_Days_at_Robertsville_Mine.html
Contact: Shabot Obaadjiwan First nation: Chief Doreen Davis
Tel: +1 613 279-1970
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.sharbotlakealgonquinfirstnation.com/