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Canada’s North Slave Métis sign on to mine project

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

The North Slave Métis Alliance is now the first aboriginal group to sign an Impact Benefit Agreement for the Gahcho Kue diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories ( N.W.T.)

The agreement sets out hiring and contracting targets, scholarship funding, and annual financial payments the Métis will receive.

The leader of the North Slave Métis, Bill Enge, said the financial payments have helped fund court actions to force the territorial and federal government to respect their constitutional rights.

“There’s no real money for aboriginal groups, especially the Métis, to take the Crown to court for their refusal to respect the rights of aboriginal people. So with the money we get from IBAs we’re able to take the Crown to court and hold them to account for their wrongdoing,” said Enge.

Last month, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court gave its decision on a case launched by the North Slave Métis. The court recognized the Métis’ constitutional right to be consulted on matters affecting their traditional lands and hunting rights.

DeBeers and Mountain Province Diamonds own the proposed Gahcho Kue mine, located 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

De Beers and Mountain Province estimate the mine will operate for at least 11 years. It would employ 700 people while being built, and 400 once in operation.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.