Group to keep protest alive, By PAUL SCHLIESMANN, the Whig-Standard, May 11, 2009

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May 11, 2009, 9:55:52 AM5/11/09
to The Frontenac Uranium Standoff
Group to keep protest alive
Posted May 11, 2009

Opponents of a proposed uranium mining operation near Sharbot Lake say
changes to Ontario's Mining Act will not halt their two-year battle.

"No, not at all," said Lynn Daniluk of the Community Coalition Against
Mining Uranium. "We have actions planned through out the summer. We
have no intention of letting it rest.

"(The changes) didn't cover uranium."

The community coalition joined forces with native bands in the Sharbot
Lake area in 2007 to put a stop to a uranium operation proposed by
Frontenac Ventures Corporation.

The groups were concerned about potential negative effects on the
environment and the health of people living in the area.

Demonstrations and blockades last year led to arrests former Ardoch
Algonquin First Nation chief Bob Lovelace spending three and a half
months in jail.

In an e-mail from Ecuador last week, Lovelace said the Ontario
government has missed a chance to making meaningful changes through
Bill 173.

"For all the hype around what the government might have done and the
real opportunity that was before them, I think we need to be
disappointed," he wrote to the Whig-Standard.

"Change to the legislation does not take place often and what has been
proposed does not nearly extend rights to Ontario citizens or
recognize Aboriginal title in a way that will avoid conflict and
assure that mining practice will be improved."

In December, the Shabot Obaadjiwan, the Snimikobi Algonquin and the
Algonquins of Ontario broke away from their protest partners and
signed an agreement with Frontenac Ventures and the Ontario government
to allow exploratory drilling at the site.

The recent changes to the mining act, which will require wider
consultation with aboriginal communities as well as a process to
settle disputes, are being touted as ways to avoid similar standoffs
in the future.

"I think they've done it. The important stakeholders are speaking well
of it," said Victor Pakalnis, the Kimross professor in mining and
sustainability at Queen's University.

Pakalnis described the current act as "very archaic."

"It has caused a lot of conflict with landowners and particularly
aboriginal communities in the north."

He said the provincial government had to protect the rights of
property owners and aboriginal people while also paying attention to
the public wealth that is created by mining.

"This is a substantial royalty that goes to the province. You want to
benefit from the fact that Canada is a rich country from a mineral
point of view," he said.

Marilyn Crawford of the community coalition said one of the positive
changes in Bill 173 is that private lands without claims on them
cannot be staked. In Bedford district of South Frontenac Township
where she lives, however, there are 34 existing claims on private
property that will remain in effect.

Though aboriginals must now be consulted about mining proposals,
Crawford said they will have no veto power.

"There's a lot of work to be done," she said. "There's no
consideration to uranium and the impact on health and the environment.
It's treated the same as any other mineral."

Pakalnis said that if proper safeguards are put in place uranium
mining can be safe, pointing to the fact that a uranium operation once
existed in the Bancroft area.

"You can mine safely, extract the mineral and leave behind an
environmentally responsible area for after the mine is finished," he

Daniluk, however, remains skeptical.

"It's radioactive. We're not talking about a gravel pit or even a
silver or gold mine," she said. "They don't last 4.5 billion years.
Some of the products left behind in the (uranium mine) tailing ponds
are toxic for 4.5 billion years.

"If someone has evidence that uranium mining is safe, I'd like to see
it. There isn't one uranium mine in Canada that hasn't had serious
consequences for the community."

Article ID# 1562022
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