Drilling Project Unanimously Rejected by Moose Cree – Community calls on Ontario to withdraw the exploration permit
May 16, 2017
MOOSE FACTORY, ONTARIO- Moose Cree First Nation has unanimously rejected a drilling project in the heart of its Homeland and is calling on the Ontario government to respect its “Right to say NO”.
Ontario is telling the community a decision is expected at the end of the month. Moose Cree demands that Ontario withdraws the exploration permit.
Montreal-based Niobay Metals Inc (TSX-V: NBY) was informed last October that drilling would not be permitted in the Moose Cree Homeland near the South Bluff Creek area. This is a sensitive wetland area and Moose Cree has identified it as important for water as well as a highly used cultural area for its members. The creek and the North French River Watershed are located in the heart of the Homeland and are of great cultural and environmental significance to the Moose Cree people. The community rejected a similar project in 2003 when previous owners of lease CLM-11 tried to initiate a drilling project in the South Bluff Creek area.
“We told the previous owners NO back then and we are telling the new leaseholders NO now,” said Chief Patricia Faries. “The new leaseholders could have saved themselves a lot of work and money if they had done due diligence and checked with us first before purchasing this lease in 2016. This is not an area open to exploration and mining development in our territory,” Chief Faries added.
This particular area, South Bluff Creek, along with the North French River Watershed which is also threatened by the project, is not open to exploration, mining or any kind of industrial development the community has declared.
Moose Cree is working on a Homeland Protection Plan. This includes a restoration plan for areas already impacted from the heavy footprint of industrial development. The area Niobay wants to drill in had a drilling program on it almost 50 years without consulting Moose Cree. The effects from that historical program are still visible on Google Earth Satellite Maps today and were observed on a recent fly over by Moose Cree staff.
“The land is scarred and has not healed even after 50 years,” Faries added. South Bluff Creek is in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a sensitive wetland ecosystem that is cold, wet and has a very short growing season.
To add further insult to injury, after the community informed Niobay that its project was unanimously rejected, the company did not change its plan. Instead it continued to advance the project by:
- Publishing a timeline on its website in February 2017 for full mine construction (2020) and production (2021) to potential investors;
- Failing to disclose to potential investors in its “forward-looking statements” that Moose Cree had unanimously rejected the project and therefore the project did not have the consent of Moose Cree;
- Promoting the project at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2017 International Convention in Toronto in March with a booth and materials;
- Setting up an Open House this week on May 17 in the municipality of Moosonee to promote the project. Chairman of the Board of Niobay, Serge Savard, former Montreal Canadiens hockey player, is being advertised as attending the open house to promote the project; and,
- Using Moose Cree’s emblem (logo) without permission on materials thereby giving people the wrong impression that the community supports the project.
“It’s outrageous the way this company is conducting itself. It is very disrespectful,” Chief Faries said. “Moose Factory is a well-known hockey town but we do not welcome Serge Savard under these circumstances. It would be better for Niobay to listen to us and respect our laws,” Faries said.
“Moose Cree people are the original people of this land and the Creator has given us this land as our home. We have an inherent right to our Homeland that no other government can take from us,” Faries stated. “Our ancestors have lived on this land since time immemorial drawing the animals, fish and plants for our sustenance. You must get our consent prior to any development within our Homeland,” Faries said.
Moose Cree calls on the Ontario government to withdraw the exploration permit and to not renew the mining lease when it expires in 2018.
For more information please contact:
Chief Patricia Faries, Moose Cree First Nation, 705-658-4619 ext 250
Jeff Hunter, Moose Cree First Nation, 705-288-1163 mobile or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copies of the Google Earth Satellite Maps are available.