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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

CPT Sends Team to First Nations Blockade

CPT sent a violence reduction team yesterday to accompany the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadijiwan First Nations in their continuing blockade of uranium mining exploration on their unceded territory.

An Ontario Superior Court injunction was served against the blockade on August 31, 2007. The injunction grants mining exploration company Frontenac Ventures Corporation “immediate” and “unfettered” access to the 8,000 hectares it has staked and is currently drilling. The Ontario Provincial Police have not said whether or not they intend to enforce the injunction.

Ardoch Algonquin First Nation is a non-status, non-treaty Aninshinaabe community of about 700 members located in the Madawaska, Mississippi and Rideau watersheds (Frontenac and Lanark counties in eastern Ontario). They have not ceded title to the lands currently under exploration by Frontenac. Aboriginal title to unceded land is established in Canadian law by the Royal Proclamation Act of 1763 and was enshrined in Canada’s constitution in 1982.

Frontenac Ventures has undertaken a two year, 3.5 million dollar exploration program without the consent of the Ardoch and Shabot communities. Open pit uranium mining could occur if Frontenac determines that exploiting the uranium deposit is economically feasible.

The Ardoch and Shabot First Nations are calling for the end of all mining exploration, staking and drilling by Frontenac.

The environmental consequences of uranium mining include the contamination of ground water with heavy metals and radioactive materials, the dispersal of radioactive dust and the release of radioactive gases into the atmosphere. Once the uranium ore is processed, 85% of the radioactivity remains in the tailings which must then be managed for hundreds of thousands of years.

Local, non-aboriginal opposition to uranium exploration is fierce. Over two hundred local residents gathered with an hour’s notice to drown out the reading of the injunction. Community action groups have been organizing petitions, letter-writing campaigns, and even a tax revolt. People have been bringing food to the blockade on a daily basis since it began on June 28.

For more information, go to the Ardoch website:

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