Northern Ontario First Nations want pause to mining permits until COVID-19 subsides

Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias stands amid supplies purchased to prepare community for a COVID-19 outbreak. 
Chris Moonias/Facebook

Date Published: April 30, 2020

Source: CBC

Northern Ontario First Nations want the province to put a hold on mining exploration permits until COVID-19 emergency measures subside. The Ontario government has designated the mining sector as an essential service, meaning it isn’t under the same lockdown requirements as other parts of the economy under the provincial emergency order triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias said, “We don’t have the tools, the resources to look at permits. We are not like the government that has many different departments.” The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines said in an emailed statement that it values “the ongoing work of the exploration sector,” but that it “also remains committed to meeting our obligations with respect to Aboriginal consultation.” The statement said that while it won’t suspend its mining lands administration system, it understands that COVID-19 has disrupted normal consultation processes and is willing to place some permit applications on hold.

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Summary by: Manjot Sunner