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New Standards in Labrador Inuit Lands Provide Clarity for Mineral Exploration

by NationTalk on April 2, 2007653 Views

Natural Resources
April 2, 2007

The Provincial Government has approved the new standards negotiated with the Nunatsiavut Government for mineral exploration on Labrador Inuit lands. With the new rules now in effect, companies exploring for minerals in the region have a clear path forward for their exploration plans.

“These new standards strike a balance between addressing the Nunatsiavut Government’s environmental concerns and creating the ability for mineral exploration to proceed,” said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. “Thanks to extensive collaborations with the Nunatsiavut Government and consultations with the mineral exploration industry, we now have a system that respects everyone with an interest in Labrador Inuit lands.”

The new regulations only apply to the Labrador Inuit Land component of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA). For the rest of the settlement area and the province, mineral exploration regulations have not changed in any way and continue to be in line with other Canadian provinces. The existing rules reflect that government’s highest priority in mineral development is protecting the natural environment.To help industry understand the new standards, government is posting details of the new rules on the Department of Natural Resources Web site. In addition, department officials will be meeting with mineral exploration companies in the weeks ahead to help explain the new standards.

“This announcement provides industry participants with the kind of certainty and direction they have been asking for,” said Minister Dunderdale. “We look forward to working with the Nunatsiavut Government to help realize the promise that mineral exploration represents in the Labrador Inuit Lands.”

Negotiations between the Province and Nunatsiavut Government began in 2006 after the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement came into effect in December 2005. Establishing mineral exploration standards in the area has been a key priority for both governments throughout the process.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to work successfully with the Nunatsiavut Government to conclude the obligation under 4.11.6 of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement to establish standards for mineral exploration in Labrador Inuit lands,” said the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. “My staff and I look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in the Nunatsiavut Government as they begin to assume increased responsibility for programs and services delivered to beneficiaries in the Inuit communities.”

In Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly in rural areas of the province, mineral exploration and mining is playing a critical role in sustaining and diversifying the economy. In 2006, estimated mineral shipments reached a record $2.6 billion. And companies spent $98 million exploring for minerals – a near record level of expenditure.

For more information visit: www.nr.gov.nl.ca/mines&en.

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Media contact:
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-1703
tracybarron@gov.nl.ca

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