Maliseet First Nations Versus Sisson Mines Ltd. - Federal environmental assessment and Maliseet concerns
by clemesur on October 5, 2016 - 5:37pm
Maliseet First Nations people are concerned about the impacts of a future open pit tungsten and molybdenum mine 60 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency states in a new report that, “There isn't enough being done to mitigate the impact of the proposed Sisson Brook mine on Maliseet First Nations people”. Though the mining project has been studied and predicted that there will be minimal environmental effects, the Maliseet are concerned for the loss 1253 hectares of traditional hunting grounds, resource gathering, and fisheries. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency failed to address these issues and resulting in behavioral, interest and value conflict between Sisson Mines Ltd. And the Maliseet First Nations communities.
The report states that the Maliseet First Nations and Sisson Mines Ltd. are “negotiating potential accommodations” and perhaps additional mitigation. However, Ron Tremblay, grand chief of Wolastag, says that “no amount of accommodation is worth damaging land”.
According to the report, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency says that they have members from all over the province and each Maliseet community has members in the grand council, and states that, “we all stand pretty much together and we’re in favor of keeping our lands together.” However, on the contrary, none of the Maliseet chiefs support the project, according to Dominique Nouvet, a lawyer that represented six bands in December 2015. Nouvet explains that, “The main reactions are dismay and anger over the approvals coming so suddenly and with basically no warning” speaking on behalf of the Maliseet First Nations people.
Sisson Mines, in my opinion, does not fail to address the value of the land and the impacts that may come along with the project. The company does offer accommodations, negotiates further mitigation and offers job opportunities and economic value. Perhaps the company is taking advantage of its power.
Mining in Canada seems to be an ongoing confliction, especially with the First Nations people. Conflict is most often than not present when mining companies take over valuable land to start extraction projects that result in environmental degradation, loss of resources and health risks to surrounding communities.
Needless to say, the Maliseet have little power over the situation and can only do so much, which is to get as much out of the project as possible to benefit their communities. Despite the conflict between the Maliseet and the Mining company, there is much to benefit from the project such as jobs and other opportunities. If the two sides can come together with an agreement that makes everyone happy, the project in my opinion will be beneficial to the Maliseet First Nations, Sisson Mines Ltd. and Canada as a whole.