About this Case
As mineral exploration and development continues to expand throughout Canada’s northern regions, mining firms are increasingly in direct contact with traditional Aboriginal landholders. In many cases mineral development may be accepted, and even welcomed, by would-be impacted communities if they are consulted in a meaningful way and respected as partners – sharing in the costs and benefits of development. However, mining firms have taken many different approaches to community relations and have therefore experienced a range of outcomes; some successful, while others have resulted in conflict and halted projects. In northern Ontario, this range of approaches to community relations is best exemplified by the contrasting cases of the failed attempts by Platinex Inc. to explore and develop a mine on the traditional lands of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (K.I.) First Nation and the successful efforts of De Beers Canada to develop the Victor diamond mine on the overlapping traditional lands of four First Nations.
Drawing upon three years of research in northern Aboriginal communities and insights from key informant interviews, these contrasting case studies highlight key challenges that are often caused by mining firms’ limited understanding of local context in their approach to consultation and in developing and maintaining positive relationships with Aboriginal communities. By contrasting the failed attempts of Platinex with the relatively successful efforts of De Beers, it is hoped that the cases presented herein will generate thoughtful discussion and further analysis of the range of complex issues surrounding mineral development on traditional Aboriginal territory.