The Grand Council of the Crees

James Bay Cree Nation Responds to Licensing Decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Cree Nation's Commitment to Permanent Moratorium Affirmed

Posted: 2012-10-17

NEMASKA, QC, Oct. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - The James Bay Cree Nation has affirmed its commitment to the complete cessation of all uranium exploration, mining and waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee, the James Bay Cree territory, notwithstanding today's decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to license a uranium exploration project in Eeyou Istchee.

On October 17, 2012 the CNSC announced that it would issue a licence to Strateco Resources Inc. to proceed with an advanced exploration project at the Matoush uranium ore body site, located near the Cree community of Mistissini. Strateco Resources  Inc.'s project at Matoush is the most advanced proposed uranium project to date in Eeyou Istchee, and also in Quebec.

At the CNSC public hearings in Mistissini in June 2012, the leadership of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, as well as the vast majority of community members, expressed their strong opposition to the Matoush uranium project. On August  9, 2012, the Grand Council of the Crees, the political body representing the James Bay Cree people, enacted a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration, uranium mining and uranium waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee.

"We are not surprised, but a bit disappointed, that the CNSC has not recognized the Cree Nation moratorium with respect to this first proposed project," said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. "However we remain determined to protect our economies and way of life against  the unique and grave threat posed by uranium mining and uranium waste. The Cree Nation will proceed with all necessary steps to ensure that our permanent uranium moratorium in Eeyou Istchee is recognized and implemented."

"We are in no way opposed to environmentally and socially sustainable and equitable mining in our territory," said Grand Council Executive Director Bill Namagoose. "But uranium is a special case, and uranium exploration and mining is not permitted in many other mining jurisdictions including BC and Nova Scotia. We are confident that Quebecers and their governments will endorse our position in due course, for all present and future generations."

Jessica Orkin (514) 260-2622
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come 613) 761-1655