The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee has once again affirmed its firm opposition to any uranium mining development within its territory of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Québec. In a resolution passed on May 26, 2021, the Board/Council of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government noted in particular that the Cree Nation remains opposed to any further development of the Matoush Uranium Project.
The Cree Nation’s affirmation of its continuing opposition to uranium mining development arises in response to the recent public announcement by junior mining company International Consolidated Uranium of its acquisition of the Matoush Uranium Project. This project, which was previously pursued by Strateco Resources Inc., is located on the family hunting territory of the Cree Nation of Mistissini and at the crest of two major watersheds that bring water throughout Eeyou Istchee.
In 2013, the Quebec Minister of the Environment refused to authorize Strateco to proceed with an advanced exploration program, based on the obvious and determinative absence of social acceptability for the Matoush project on the part of the Cree community. Subsequent efforts by Strateco to challenge the legality of that decision through court proceedings were unsuccessful. The Superior Court and the Québec Court of Appeal confirmed that social acceptability must be considered in deciding whether to permit a mining project to proceed within Eeyou Istchee, and the Supreme Court of Canada declined leave to appeal.
“The social acceptability of proposed development projects in Eeyou Istchee has been recognized as a fundamental aspect of the strong and successful nation-to-nation relationship between the Cree Nation and Québec,” said Grand Chief Abel Bosum. “The Cree Nation is committed to protecting our environment and our way of life from the unacceptable risks that uranium mining presents, now and for future generations. Our position on this important issue has not and will not change.”
“The people and especially the youth of the Cree Nation of Mistissini have been instrumental in mobilizing awareness and action by the Cree Nation regarding the risks of uranium mining in Eeyou Istchee,” noted Mistissini Chief Thomas Neeposh. “We are also grateful for the important leadership that previous Mistissini Chiefs and councils provided on this issue. Mistissini is the community most directly affected by the Matoush project and by the prospect of uranium mining in our territory. Our people have spoken, and we have said no.”