Innu protest at mineral exploration project in vital hunting grounds

August 17, 2011

The area targeted by Cap-Ex Ventures is a vital hunting ground for the Innu © Dominick Tyler

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One of the largest Innu communities in Quebec, eastern Canada, is embroiled in a row with an iron-ore mining company.

The company, Cap-Ex Ventures, is exploring for iron ore in an area known as the Labradar Trough, a rich seam of minerals that stretches for hundreds of miles along the provincial border between Quebec and Labrador – the heart of Innu territory.

The long history of mining in this area has already taken a huge toll on the rich hunting grounds, and many of the rivers have been dammed for hydro-power. A railway was built into the region in the 1950s to transport the ore.

One of the largest Innu communities that uses this area for hunting, gathering and trapping is the Innu band known as Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (also known as Sept-Iles). They do not want Cap-Ex Ventures to enter their hunting grounds until the company has formally committed to allow full environmental monitoring of their operations – but the company has gone ahead anyway.

Armand MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Innu, said today, ‘We expressed serious environmental, social and cultural concerns to the company: they’re showing a disrespectful attitude. We are open to constructive dialogue, but any exploration activity or mining activity on our lands, that affects our natural resources, needs our consent – that’s a fundamental principle.’

In a statement Cap-Ex Ventures said, ‘The Company remains committed to discussions with the Innu of Sept-Iles. The Company will continue to inform the Innu of Sept-Iles of its activities.’

For more information contact Armand MacKenzie

The website of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam community.