NEMASKA, EEYOU ISTCHEE (QUEBEC), March 3, 2014: The James Bay Cree Nation welcomes the announcement made today by Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet of the mandate granted to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) to conduct province-wide public hearings regarding the uranium sector in Quebec.
“This is a crucial first step in an important process,” said Grand Chief Dr. Mathew Coon Come. “A broad, independent and rigorous study of the uranium industry in Quebec is urgently required. We intend to participate fully in the BAPE process, to ensure that it meets these high standards. We are confident that when Quebecers learn and consider the true facts about uranium mining and uranium waste, they will join us in our permanent moratorium stand.”
“The Government of Quebec and the Cree Nation Government have committed to work closely together, both before and during the BAPE mandate, to ensure that the BAPE process regarding the uranium industry in Quebec proceeds in a manner that respects Cree treaty rights and the requirements of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement,” Grand Chief Coon Come noted. “Uranium is an issue of grave concern for the Cree Nation, for our environment, our lands and our future generations.”
On August 8, 2012, the Cree Nation enacted a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration, mining, milling and waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee. The Cree Nation’s opposition to uranium activities in their territory is based on the serious risks uranium poses to the environment and to human health. Uranium exploration and mining places a burden on future generations that the Cree Nation is not prepared to assume.
“We commend the Government for its decision to look more closely at the risks associated with uranium, as the community of Mistissini has already done” said Mistissini Chief Richard Shecapio. “Our position remains clear: there will be no uranium activities in our territory.”
Strateco Resources Inc.’s Matoush project, which is located near the Cree community of Mistissini, is the most advanced uranium project to date in the Cree territory of Eeyou Istchee and in Quebec. In November 2013, Minister Blanchet refused to issue a certificate of authorization to Strateco for an advanced uranium exploration project at the Matoush site. Strateco has commenced legal proceedings to challenge the Minister’s decision, and the Crees have joined this litigation as interveners.