The Innu communities of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John, in northern Quebec, heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday after the Supreme Court of Canada had rejected the application for leave to appeal from the mining Iron Ore of Canada (IOC) which sought to invalidate the continuation of 900 million to its location.
IOC, whose main shareholder is the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto Group, will have no choice but to face justice after having exhausted all his appeals to dodge the legal proceedings. Mining had already addressed, unsuccessfully, to the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Superior Court to try to derail the lawsuit, arguing that the Innu would rather speak to governments, given the lack of Clearly aboriginal title.
The North Shore Innu claim 900 million in damage to the mining company for the theft of their ancestral lands. The Chief of Uashat mak Mani-utenam, Mike McKenzie, claims that IOC violates the rights of the Innu since early 1950. It was at this time that the mining exploitation project launched its iron ore in the territory called Nitassinan.
This is a mega project which includes three hydroelectric dams (Menihek, Churchill Falls and Sainte-Marguerite 2), a railway 418 km, port facilities in Sept-Îles, nine operating mines in Labrador City 20 abandoned mines in the Schefferville area, argue the Innu.
According to Mr. McKenzie, the mining conducted “a systematic violation of our rights,” illegally dispossessing the territory and the traditional lifestyle of the Innu.
“Rio Tinto and IOC subsidiary are trying to slow the process and hope to push back the time when the case would be heard on the merits, denounced the Chief of Uashat mak Mani-utenam in a statement. We all know the strategy of the rich multinationals such as Rio Tinto. ”
His counterpart Matimekush-Lac John nation, Réal McKenzie, argued that “several other mining companies are present and act as good corporate citizens in our region and across Canada.”
Over the years, many companies have actually entered into agreements with the Innu. This is particularly the case of ArcelorMittal, Cliffs Natural Resources, Tata Steel, Labrador Iron Mines and New Millennium.