Canada: First Nation seeks urgent injunction to stop Zenyatta drillingPublished by MAC on 2011-05-02
Source: Statement, Marketwire (2011-04-28)
Constance Lake First Nation seeks urgent court injunction to stop drilling by Zenyatta Ventures
Constance Lake First Nation Press Release
28 April 2010
Constance Lake First Nation seeks urgent court injunction to stop drilling by Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (a mineral exploration company with agreements with Cliffs)
Constance Lake First Nation (CLFN) has filed a motion in the Ontario Superior Court to seek an order that would stop Zenyatta from further mineral exploration drilling in a critically important area within CLFN's traditional territory. This motion will be heard by the Court on Friday April 29 in Toronto.
CLFN will also hold a demonstration on Monday May 2 (and perhaps beyond), under CLFN's traditional law, to emphasize its commitment to protect CLFN's aboriginal and treaty rights. This demonstration will be held where the Pagwachuan River crosses Highway 11, approximately 80 km west of Calstock (120 km west of Hearst). There is a sign marking the Paguachuan River as a bridge crosses over it on Highway 11. This location is near the Zenyatta southern exploration base camp. CLFN asks any supporters to attend and to respect the fact that this is CLFN's demonstration. The OPP has been contacted about this.
Zenyatta has staked mining claims (the "Albany Claims") over 300,000 acres north-west of Hearst, Ontario. Much of the Albany Claims overlap an area known to CLFN as the "Heartland" because of its significant historic and current value to the First Nation. There is very high use of this area by CLFN members for hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering plants for medicine and food, and many other traditional cultural uses. Sacred sites, including burial sites, are in this area. "This land is at the core of our cultural and spiritual being as a people," says Chief Arthur Moore. "We are deeply concerned that drilling and other exploration activity will cause irreparable harm to our cultural sites, our rights, and our relationship to the land."
The First Nation has been trying to negotiate an agreement with Zenyatta and some accommodation from the Ontario Government, which would have included measures to identify and protect such sites and to mitigate impacts to the exercise of aboriginal and treaty rights, when it found out that Zenyatta had unilaterally gone onto the land to begin its exploration program.
"We cannot allow our rights - including to meaningful consultation and accommodation - to be unilaterally steamrolled," says the Chief. "We therefore are forced to bring this legal action and to assert our rightful place in this world through our planned demonstration. But we are more than open to negotiating fair accommodation measures if Zenyatta and the Crown would do the honourable thing and cease the drilling in the mean time. So far they have refused to do this."
One big obstacle here is Ontario and the Mining Act. While the Mining Act has been amended, the amendments that would most affect First Nations are not yet in force. Even had they been, there is still no requirement in the new Act to consult First Nations before claims are staked, and there is no requirement for substantive accommodation to be reached before exploration begins.
Cliffs (a big mining company headquartered in Cleveland Ohio with a lot of interest in the Ring of Fire), through one of its affiliates, owns a 75% interest in the Albany claims that Zenyatta intends to explore, and can take over this project if certain conditions are met. CLFN met with certain executives from Cliffs a few weeks ago and made them aware of the serious issues, and asked Cliffs to try to persuade Zenyatta to do the right thing. Cliffs has not come through with any assistance to CLFN.
"All mining and mineral exploration companies need to know that while Constance Lake First Nation does not oppose this kind of activity in our traditional territory, such activity can only happen if it is done right. This means our rights and the land and our relationship to the land need to be fully respected," says the Chief.
For further information please contact:
Chief Arthur Moore: 705-372-5526
Oliver MacLaren (legal counsel): 416-700-9331
Kate Kempton (legal counsel): 416-571-6775
BACKGROUNDER RE CONSTANCE LAKE FIRST NATION AND ZENYATTA VENTURES LTD.
MINERAL EXPLORATION PROGRAM
- Zenyatta went onto the land (in CLFN's traditional territory) in early April 2011 and started drilling/exploring without any proper notice to CLFN, and without meaningful consultation and accommodation to CLFN by Ontario or Zenyatta.
- Zenyatta has 28 mining claims in this area (called the "Albany Claims"), and intends to drill at up to 70 sites in these claims this year. That means that 70 sites will be clearcut, the helicopter will fly the drill and crew and fuel into 70 sites, and disruption to that area will occur at each site.
- The southern claims are in a crucial part of CLFN's traditional territory called the "heartland" - filled with sacred sites, heavily used by CLFN for exercise of aboriginal and treaty rights, and of extremely high value to CLFN. The northern claims are in shared territory - shared between CLFN and likely also Moose Cree and Marten Falls First Nations.
- CLFN is deeply concerned that its sacred sites (including burial sites) will be irreparably harmed, and that the exercise of its rights will be infringed.
- CLFN has brought a court motion for an injunction against Zenyatta, to try to get the court to order Zenyatta to stop drilling for now, and get Ontario and Zenyatta to meaningfully consult with and accommodate CLFN. The hearing is this Friday, April 29, in Superior Court in Toronto.
- Both before and since filing the injunction notice in the court, CLFN has repeatedly tried to get Zenyatta to agree to stop drilling in the interim, and has tried to get both Zenyatta and Ontario to agree to reasonable and necessary accommodation measures. Zenyatta has refused to stop drilling, and as of today no accommodation measures to protect CLFN sites and lands and values and to mitigate impacts on its rights, are in place.
- CLFN considers that Zenyatta has breached its trust and shown bad faith. It could have avoided all its financial risks had it waited to move out on the land until consultation had been completed and CLFN's significant concerns accommodated.
- But the other big obstacle here is Ontario and the Mining Act. While the Mining Act has been amended, the amendments that would most affect First Nations are not yet in force. Even had they been, there is still no requirement in the new Act to consult First Nations before claims are staked, and there is no requirement for substantive accommodation to be reached before exploration begins.
- Zenyatta's President and CEO is Aubrey Eveleigh. Its Board of Directors are: Mr. Eveleight, Tom Mustapic, Clifford Davis, Brian Davey, Barry Allan. Zenyatta is a publicly traded company.
CONSTANCE LAKE FIRST NATION
P.O Box 4000
CONSTANCE LAKE, Ontario - P0L 1B0
Telephone (705) 463-4511 - Fax (705) 463-2222
Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.; 1st Phase Drilling Program Commences at Albany Project
28 February 2011
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2011) - Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. ("Zenyatta" or "Company") is pleased to announce that a 20,000 metre drill program has commenced at the Albany Project near Hearst, Ontario. The program will be conducted throughout the year and test several high priority magnetic and electromagnetic geophysical targets identified by Geotech's VTEM 35 airborne system in 2010.
Zenyatta has the right to earn a total of 80% interest in the Albany Project from Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc. by expending a total of $10,000,000 over 4 years. The Project consists of approximately 300,000 acres in an area highly prospective for copper, nickel, PGM's and other mineral deposit types. The Company has already earned a 25% interest by flying the Geotech airborne survey and is presently working towards earning an additional 55% interest.
Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO stated "The Company is excited to get its first drill program started in a new frontier we call the Albany Project. We have many high priority geophysical targets to test in 2011 and look forward to the drill results over the coming weeks and months".
Zenyatta common shares commenced trading December 23, 2010 on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol 'ZEN' after a successful $9,926,459 IPO financing through a syndicate led by Jennings Capital Inc., GMP Securities LP and assisted by financial advisor Fox Collins Securities Inc. (see News Release dated 22 December 2010).
Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF), an international mining and natural resource company, holds 11.8% of the outstanding common shares of Zenyatta.
Zenyatta has 39,570,313 common shares outstanding and approximately $10,000,000 in cash.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements and is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the Company's forward-looking statements and expectations. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
To find out more on Zenyatta Ventures Ltd., please visit our website, www.zenyatta.ca
Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.
President and CEO