Oujé-Bougoumou (Québec), June 20, 2013 – The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), the Cree Regional Authority, the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation and BlackRock Metals Inc. announce that they have entered into the BallyHusky Agreement on June 20, 2013 regarding the development and operation of BlackRock’s project in Eeyou Istchee, an iron-ore and vanadium open pit mine in the traditional territory of the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation.
Community approval was expressed through the support of the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation Council on May 27, 2013. The approval of the Agreement by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority on June 5, 2013 represents the support of the Cree Nation as a whole, and ensures a stable regional environment for the development and operation of BlackRock’s project.
The official signing ceremony took place in Oujé-Bougoumou on June 20, 2013.
After extensive negotiations where the Cree parties expressed a range of concerns related to environmental protection, training, employment and contracting, as well as other issues, and after being satisfied that these concerns will be addressed by BlackRock, the Crees, through the BallyHusky Agreement, have expressed their commitment to collaborate with BlackRock during the construction and operations of this new mine in the Eeyou Istchee territory. The Agreement, which will be in effect for the life of the mine, contains various provisions regarding Cree involvement in the development of the project, including employment and business opportunities and training and education initiatives. Moreover, the Agreement aligns the parties’ respective interests in the economic success of the project and ensures that the Crees will receive financial benefits through different payment mechanisms and participation in the profitability of the mine.
“The BallyHusky Agreement is a vibrant example where, with the participation of the Crees, mining development can take place and prosper in Eeyou Istchee.” said Dr. Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee). “BlackRock has recognized that partnership with the Crees is an essential condition for the success of its project in Eeyou Istchee. We found the right balance between economic development, protection of the environment and our traditional way of life. The Crees are ready, willing and able to make this partnership work for our mutual benefit.”
“The Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou is pleased to be entering into this long-term Agreement with BlackRock Metals. The representatives of this company have shown themselves to be very understanding and accommodating of our concerns and our requirements and we believe we have established a very firm foundation for a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship.” said Chief Reggie Neeposh of the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation.
About the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political body that represents the approximately 18,000 Crees or “Eeyouch” (or “Eenouch”). The Council is constituted of twenty (20) members including: the Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief elected at large by the Eeyouch, the chiefs elected by each of the nine (9) recognized Cree communities, and one (1) other representative elected by each community.
About the Cree Regional Authority
The Cree Regional Authority (“CRA”), set up by virtue of the signing of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement as the administrative body of the Cree Nation Government, is responsible for environmental protection, the hunting, fishing and trapping regime, economic and community development, Cree governance and other matters as decided by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of the CRA is the same joint governing body that manages the Grand Council of the Crees and is referred to as the “Council/Board”.
About the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation
Oujé-Bougoumou is the newest of the Cree First Nations in Eeyou Istchee having been constructed during the first half of the 1990’s. After many years of negotiations, Oujé-Bougoumou was recently incorporated formally into the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. In the course of the construction of Oujé-Bougoumou, the community enjoyed national and international recognition for its community development efforts including recognition from the United Nations and participation in Expo 2000.