Northern Ontario Business – Mining can be green and “sustainable.” Miners, First Nations feed fodder to government policy wonks
Government needs to help encourage greater Indigenous participation in the mining sector if it wants to make progress on national reconciliation and to “unlock billions of economic activity” across the country.
The Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) submitted an Aug; 14 policy paper at the Energy and Mines Ministers conference in Saint Andrews, N.B. CMIF is a coalition of mining interests, led by the Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, who believe Canada can be a top supplier of sustainably-sourced minerals and metals operating within a low-carbon regime.
Since the mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous people, CMIF said government needs to invest in Indigenous health, education, skills training, and make progress on resource revenue sharing.
CMIF suggests government use industry “as a platform” toward national reconciliation. . Also at the conference were a group of Indigenous and advocacy groups who are urging the ministers to do more to protect the environment and communities negatively impacted by the industry.
“We’re not against ‘clean growth’ or ‘clean energy,’ but these must not be empty words,” said Jacinda Mack, a member of the Secwepemc and Nuxalk Nations in British Columbia, in a news release issued by Mining Watch.
Her community was negatively affected by the Mount Polley tailings spill in 2014. She is a coordinator of the First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining.
“We’re here to alert the public and our governments that there are still serious problems with the way mining is done in this country and that there can’t be any clean growth or clean energy without first having clean mining,” she stated.