The Mineral and Mines Unit was established within the Union of Ontario Indians in May of 2010 and currently is staffed with a Mineral and Mines Policy Analyst. The goal of the Mineral and Mines unit is to improve communication, dialogue, and relations between the Anishinabek Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The Minerals and Mines unit working area encompasses the traditional territory of the 39 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation.
The Anishinabek Nation has had the immediate task of discussing the Modernization of the Ontario Mining Act. In addition, the Union of Ontario Indian has been mandated to develop an Anishinabek Mining Strategy and to strengthen collaboration with the Ontario government, educate and heighten the level of awareness of minerals and mining process for our member communities, especially among the youth, and to promote the importance of the mining sector to our First Nation communities.
The Union of Ontario Indians have developed the Anishinabek Mining Strategy that includes the following 5 goals:
A technical table will be established as an advisory body and provide a process to better identify current and emerging issues of interest to both parties, support discussion on mining issues, allow for information exchange, facilitate a common understanding, build upon relationships and allow for the collaboration on the resolution of issues identified. Joint exploration will take place at the technical table to research and develop mechanisms for capacity building and stewardship of the Anishinabek Nation.
Guide for mining in Anishinabek Nation Territory
Claim Staking – Company stakes a claim and registers it with MNDM - no consultation with First Nations.
Early exploration – MNDM provides written notice and gives First Nations 21 days to comment on exploration above ground
Advanced Exploration – MNDM provides written notice of permit application below ground to First Nations and asks Chief to call company - time limit 50 days for MNDM to decide. MNDM can stop the clock and call for mediation if serious dispute with First Nations
Closure Plans – Required to open a mine - company must prove that site can be rehabilitated after mine is closed - 45 days for First Nation and company consultation
NOTE: The Mining Act in Ontario does not require First Nation consultation on traditional and Treaty territory for claim staking and early exploration.
The best websites available for more information: http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/en and http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/minerals-metals/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca.minerals-metals/files/files/pdf/abor-auto/mining-guide-eng.pd
Q. A company wants to stake a claim (electronically on Ontario Crown land) in my territory. Claims can be staked electronically in Northern Ontario in early 2014. What can my First Nation do?
Step 1. Company stakes a claim on Ontario Crown land and submits it to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. There is no requirement for company to contact First Nations prior to staking a claim even though the Anishinabek Nation.
Step 2 – Ministry of Northern Development and Mines send Chief a letter.
There are two claim types:
Exploration Plans – Above Ground- light damage to FN territory. Plan
Exploration Permits – deep drilling and blasting- heavy damage. Permit
Early Exploration uses Exploration Plans (above ground) – Chiefs have 21 days to comment to the MNDM from date letter are sent electronically. They also include a map of the area and a drill hole map.
If First Nations have no comments or no problems, company goes on to traditional territory to explore from 30 days from date of letter.
Advanced Exploration uses Exploration Permits – MNDM provides written notice of permit application to First Nations and asks Chief to call company. Chief has 30 days to comment and engage company. MNDM has a time limit of 50 days to make a decision. MNDM can stop the clock and call for mediation if serious dispute with First Nations.
Exploration Permits (blasting and deep drilling) – Letter from MNDM sent to Chief – notice with application, maps and history. Chief is requested to phone the company. First Nations have up to 50 days to reply from date on letter. If they say yes – the company goes ahead.
If MNDM can’t facilitate (mediator chosen from Ontario list of Mediators) have 30 days to report to Minister – First Nation can only appeal through the courts.
A mining company wants to open a mine. What does this means to First Nations? What process is followed?
1) In order to open a mine, accompany must file a Closure Plan. These are usually more than a 1000 pages because they include many engineering reports.
2) The Closure Plan is a document requiring the company to prove that the site can be rehabilitated.
3) Closure Plans consist of a detailed description of the project, closure objectives, progressive rehabilitation measures, rehabilitation at closure, monitoring plans, long-term site management and financial assurance.
4) The Closure Plan process allows 45 days for the company and First Nations, identified by MNDM to engage or consult.
5) The company files the Closure Plans with MNDM and begins applying for the required permits to open the mine. First Nations are consulted on each permit. For example, the Kearney Mine Site required 16 permits.
Anishinabek Mining Strategy Report Jan 2009
File: Mining Final Report.pdf
Serpent River First Nation Mining Report
File: SRFN Mining Report.pdf
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