The James Bay Cree Nation welcomes the news that Quebec Minister of the Environment Yves-François Blanchet plans to refuse to issue a permit for Strateco Resources Inc.’s Matoush advanced uranium exploration project. Strateco reported on June 25, 2013 that it had recently received notice from the Minister of his intention to refuse their permit application for the Matoush project, due to “a lack of sufficient social acceptability”.
“This is good news for the Cree people, and another positive step in our continuing efforts to ensure that Eeyou Istchee remains free of uranium mining”, said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. “The Cree Nation and I remain committed to protecting our environment, economy and way of life from the unacceptable risks that uranium mining presents, now and for hundreds of future generations.”
Located near the Cree community of Mistissini, the Matoush project is the most advanced uranium project to date in the Cree territory of Eeyou Istchee and in Quebec. “We commend the Minister for his decision to stop the Matoush project,” said Mistissini Chief Richard Shecapio. “The position of the Mistissini Cree Nation is clear: we do not accept uranium exploration or mining in our territory. We are joined in this position by hundreds of municipalities and civil society groups across Quebec.”
The Minister’s decision about the Matoush project reflects the recommendation made by COMEX, the joint Cree-Quebec environmental review panel established under section 22 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement treaty. COMEX recommended that the project be permitted to proceed only if Strateco were able to demonstrate its social acceptability by concluding a written agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini.
“The social acceptability of proposed development projects in Eeyou Istchee is a fundamental part of the successful relationship of partnership and respect between the Crees and Quebec,” Grand Chief Coon Come noted. “We are pleased that the Minister has recognized the importance of this principle in relation to the Matoush project.”
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political entity that represents the James Bay Cree people. The Cree Nation of Mistissini is one of the larger communities within the James Bay Cree Nation, and is located at the southeast end of Mistassini Lake.