Uranium exploration activity in Elliot Lake has a community demanding the province start formal consultation proceedings with Serpent River First Nation on its traditional and treaty lands. Chief Isadore Day is waiting on the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to respond on a commitment for "pre-consultation" on the issue of uranium mining in the band's traditional territory.
In a news release, Day said there have been ongoing discussions with the ministry for more than a year and now he wants the government to "move on its duty to consult." He wants the Crown to be “honourable in its responsibility here and not expect that we will accept any engagement or monies from industry as a solution.”
The Serpent River reserve has a dark association with the uranium mining industry. Radioactive tailings from several mines operating in the Elliot Lake area starting in the 1960s contaminated the Serpent River and sickened the local Native population that drew their drinking water from it.
Though the last mine closed in 1996, junior miners are back exploring around old mine workings and ore reserves.
"Our watershed territory drains into the Lake Huron basin and uranium mining has the potential of affecting a number of communities in the treaty territory," said Day.
As the Mining Act changes he said the province and the country are acting in a “silomentality on the matters that affect First Nation lands, interests and concerns.”