MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC (October 24, 2012) The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), the Cree Regional Authority, the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi and Eagle Hill Exploration Corporation (“Eagle Hill”) announce the signing of an advanced exploration agreement on October 24, 2012 regarding the future development and operation of the company’s Windfall Lake gold mining project in Eeyou Istchee.
The Council of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi approved the agreement on June 18, 2012. The approval of the agreement by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Cree Regional Authority on August 8, 2012 represents the support of the Cree Nation as a whole, and ensures a stable environment for the future development and operation of the Windfall Lake gold mining project.
The official signing ceremony shall take place in Montréal, Québec, on October 24, 2012.
The agreement reflects the parties’ common desire to promote a cooperative and mutually respectful relationship concerning the exploration and pre-development activities of Eagle Hill for the project in Eeyou Istchee Territory. Eagle Hill has undertaken to provide preferential treatment to Cree enterprises in awarding contracts for the supply of goods and services and has undertaken, with the collaboration of Cree parties, to define the terms of reference and conduct a business and employment capacity study to assess the business and employment capacity within Waswanipi and other Cree communities. Eagle Hill shall also open a business development office in Waswanipi.
The Crees have agreed to support the project and to cooperate with Eagle Hill in the preparation of environmental and social impact assessment studies for all components of the project. The Crees are also committed to use their best efforts to ensure that the project proceeds through the environmental and social assessment process provided in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, and, where environmental and social concerns are met, to assist Eagle Hill in obtaining required governmental approvals.
Finally, the Parties have agreed to continue discussions towards concluding a Social and Economic Participation Agreement with respect to the Windfall Lake mining project.
“Through the adoption of the Cree Nation Mining Policy and the execution of this Agreement, we have undertaken to support and participate in mining exploration within our Traditional Territory.” said Dr. Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee). “This agreement marks the beginning of a collaborative and fruitful relationship between the Crees and Eagle Hill, a relationship based on an alignment of interests, founded on environmental and economic sustainability and the respect of Cree rights. The Crees and Eagle Hill will continue to cooperate towards the conclusion of a final agreement reflecting the active participation of the Crees, as partners, in the economic and social development of Eeyou Istchee.”
Mr. Paul Gull, Chief of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, stated: "Our community and the Council of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi are eager to collaborate with the mineral exploration and mining industry. We recognize that this industry has a corporate social responsibility to follow in the footsteps of Eagle Hill. The signing of this agreement ensures that there will be meaningful participation by our local members without sacrificing sustainability. It is an important step for all parties.”