Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Makita Response to Government of Nunavut Decision Not to Hold Uranium Mining Inquiry

Makita – August 31, 2010

Makita Response to GN Decision Not to Hold Uranium Mining Inquiry

The Board of Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (Makita) today released the following statement in response to the Government of Nunavut (GN)‘s decision not to hold a public inquiry on the question of whether uranium mining should take place in Nunavut: This was an opportunity for the GN to take a leadership role in ensuring a meaningful consultation took place on this important question. “The GN is obviously not interested in Nunavummiut fully participating in decision making processes,” states Sandra Inutiq, the chair of Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit. Makita agrees with the GN that the regulatory regime only allow reviews of resource extraction proposals on a case by case basis. The recent interlocutory injunction obtained by Qikiqtani Inuit Association to stop seismic testing states the regulatory process does not meet meaningful consultation requirements.

Uranium mining carries the highest risks to humans, wildlife and environmental health of all development projects. “While a trend is starting in other jurisdictions not to allow uranium mining, Nunavut is choosing to open its doors without an opportunity for full participation from the public,” Ms. Inutiq adds. The GN commits to doing research and holding a public forum for those most affected. Makita‘s position is that the process proposed is window dressing -- public meetings without a mandate for research and reporting, and without clear standards for transparency or process, will be a waste of time and money. Nor will the result be accurate and objective information, given that the GN has partnered with the federal government and the industry to do prospectivity mapping of uranium in Nunavut. This seems clear indication that the GN is on a path to allow uranium mining to happen, and will not be dissuaded. Close to 200 signatories asked for a public inquiry. The petitioners are not being heard.

Meaningful consultation in development projects is not only a land claim right for Inuit, it is a right for all residents of Nunavut. "There is no way that the process that the GN is setting out is going to address the 'big picture' question. If our MLA‘s are not willing to even discuss this question, then they will be failing and shirking their responsibility to the public and the environment." Inutiq says.