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TORONTO, ON: Constance Lake, Aroland, Ginoogaming, Long Lake #58, Marten Falls, Eabametoong, Nibinamik, Neskantaga and Webequie First Nations of the Matawa First Nations Chiefs Council announced today that they are attending the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) international convention, trade show and investor’s exchange.

Having been members of PDAC for over the past five plus years, these First Nations see their attendance at the convention as an opportunity to interact with the mining industry and to gauge current thinking on issues such as corporate social responsibility, innovations in the Internet of Things in relation to the digitalization of mining, amongst many other issues they feel have potential to affect them as they explore mining exploration and development in their territory in the area known as the ‘Ring of Fire.’

They are also attending to advocate their position that Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has to be respected as foremost when governments and industries are dealing with them. They also are also there to educate on their First Nations protocols in place that are aligned with FPIC in the UNDRIP and that also form the social license to operate.

They have been consistent in saying that they want to be part of mining development and want their citizens to benefit but that it must be done respectfully of First Nations Peoples and their lands. They have also consistently said that they want to protect their lands and resources for future generations. Regarding their positions, and those of the Ontario to build its economy—the Matawa First Nations have said they believe that in working together everyone, First Nations, Governments and Industries can all benefit from these developments.

The Matawa First Nations are currently in a negotiations process with the Ontario government through a Regional Framework Agreement to find this way forward. To their disappointment, federal government involvement in this process has not taken place over the past three years that this process has been rolling out. They have said that as a Treaty partner, it is imperative that Canada be involved. Furthermore, they added that Canada cannot delegate their responsibility to Ontario and Industries.

PDAC will run until March 8, 2017 and Matawa First Nations will be participating for its duration both in the convention and as exhibitors under ‘Matawa First Nations’ and ‘Four Rivers Environmental Services Group.’ They are also featured in the Ontario Edition of the Canadian Mining Magazine available this year at PDAC.

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