30 March 2022, 9.21pm EDT
Long Point First Nation is facing serious threats from a proposed open-pit lithium mine a few kilometres from the community of Winneway, on the shores of Lake Simard, part of Kitci Sibi (the Ottawa River) in northern Quebec, Canada.
This site is occupied daily by members of the community. The cumulative impacts of the company’s global project are significant. These include impacts on water and on the caribou essential habitat, an endangered species central to the First Nation’s traditions.
The members of Long Point First Nation are in the best position to assess and decide on the impacts of mining projects that affect them, as part of their right to self-determination. Sayona Mining must stop artificially dividing its lithium mine project into several sub-projects. All the impacts of its three lithium deposits in the Anicinape Aki territory must be assessed before any mining permit is issued.
For millennia, the Anicinapek people of Long Point First Nation have hunted, fished, trapped and gathered medicinal plants on their unceded ancestral territory. After centuries of colonization and exploitation of natural resources by Canada and Quebec State, the fact that they still practice their Aboriginal rights is indisputable proof that their identity is rooted in their territory.
In 1923, the families were forced to relocate in a hurry when their homes were swallowed up by rising waters following the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Ottawa River.
A century later, Long Point First Nation is facing this new threat of mining.
Two other lithium deposits in Abitibi-Témiscamingue by the same mining company pose serious threats to the groundwater of two eskers of world renowned purity : Authier Lithium project and North American Lithium mine. Despite these numerous issues, the company still refuses to conduct a single comprehensive impact assessment of all of its deposits, which would nevertheless feed the same chemical ore processing plant.
The members of Long Point First Nation are in the best position to assess and comment on the impacts of mining projects that affect them and I stand with them.
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