Innu ink benefits deal on revived iron ore mine

July 28, 2008

July 28th (AOL News Canada) – Labrador’s Innu Nation has signed an agreement with the company planning to resume mining on long-dormant iron deposits near the Quebec-Labrador boundary.

Labrador Iron Mines plans to extract about three million tonnes each year, as early as 2009, from a site near Schefferville, Que.

The Iron Ore Company of Canada, which operates a large mine in Labrador City, shut down the site in 1982. Soaring steel prices have made the once-abandoned mine viable again.

Labrador Iron Mines reached a deal this spring with Innu in Quebec.

Mark Nui, grand chief of the Innu Nation, would not say what the company’s deal – which involves money, business contracts and jobs – is worth to Labrador’s 2,000 Innu.

Nui noted, though, that the deal is the first time his people will benefit from mining in western Labrador.

“The government has collected revenues out of it through taxes and we haven’t benefited. We’ve had zero,” Nui told CBC News.

“This business of being passive observers to what’s happening on our lands has to stop.”

Nui said the Innu Nation will insist that mining exploration or exploration work will need to come through the Innu Nation.

Labrador Iron Mines registered the project with the Newfoundland and Labrador government in May.

The proposal is now before Environment Minister Charlene Johnson.

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