Today four conservation groups have joined with the northern Ontario Oji-Cree community Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug or “KI” to request the Ontario Securities Commission investigate junior exploration company God’s Lake Resources (stock symbol GLR). KI and the groups are concerned that GLR may have made misleading statements in its public filings. The company’s documents suggest the company was making progress towards an agreement with KI to allow exploration on leases and claims held by GLR and within KI’s traditional territory.
“Despite repeated correspondence from KI that it had placed a moratorium on all mining exploration in their homeland, from what we have reviewed, GLR has not yet communicated this risk to their investors” said Justin Duncan, staff lawyer at Ecojustice, “as a result, we have asked the Securities Commission to investigate whether GLR has violated the Ontario Securities Act.”
“The KI moratorium on mining exploration is no secret” said KI Chief Donny Morris. “We have said in writing, we have said on Youtube, we have said it on the radio and we have said from jail and wewill say it again: KI want no mining exploration on our homeland until we complete our own planning for the KI territory. Under KI law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, KI have the right to say no to unwanted mining exploration and we are exercising that right.”
KI’s ongoing opposition is material to GLR’s business operations because the Ontario Mining Act will require that all new mines be in agreement with a community land use plan. The fact that GLR claims and leases are in an area that has a large historic cemetery and many other important community values has heightened KI’s concern about the proposed exploration activities or future mining.
In 2008 Chief Morris and five councillors, known as the KI Six, were jailed for peacefully opposing another company’s proposed mineral exploration on their lands. The six leaders, including Head Councillor Cecillia Begg, a grandmother, were sentenced to six months in jail for peacefully standing for the right to say no to mining development that threatened to pollute the waters and lake their culture is built upon. The jailing of the KI leadership was widely condemned by the Ontario public.
Ontario has advised KI in writing that GLR intends to begin drilling this month, putting a sacred landscape and other significant community values at risk. Both GLR and Ontario refuse to say what date the company plans to move its drill rig in, prompting KI to establish a reconnaissance presence at the site. KI is currently mobilizing to prevent exploration and it is feared that the situation could escalate if GLR moves in. In a March 1 news release GLR indicated that they are looking to hire private security for their drill program – a potentially explosive move.
“We have joined KI in this request for an investigation as we believe that investors must be fully informed about the steps being taken by both governments and companies to obtain First Nations’ consent for proposed exploration and mining projects” said Anna Baggio of CPAWS Wildlands League “our hope being that those companies that meaningfully engage First Nations will be able to more easily obtain investment capital.”