[SCHEFFERVILLE, NL] - A blockade of mining roads on the Quebec-Labrador border has impacted the work of at least one mining company active in the area.
New Millennium Iron Corp. has stated “some members of the local Innu community of Schefferville” have been blocking roads to the iron ore mining areas since Saturday.
“The blockade is peaceful and we are respecting it. We have Impact Benefit Agreements with all the First Nations communities, including the local Innu communities, the Innu of Labrador and the Naskapi,” stated Dean Journeaux, president and CEO of New Millennium Iron. “The economic impact will be felt by all involved including the First Nations people and contractors working on the various projects. We look to an early resolution by the authorities.”
New Millennium is involved in a joint venture with Tata Steel near Schefferville. The project involves 64 million tonnes of iron ore.
About 75 per cent of the project’s $335 million total capital investment is in Labrador. Construction is to involve new rail and camp facilities, a power plant and processing plant.
The mine is expected to employ 175 people when operational.
The Innu Municipal Development Partnership of Labrador City holds the general construction contract.
The ongoing blockade echoes the events of June 2010, when the Innu Strategic Alliance — including the Chiefs of the Innu communities of Ekuanitshit, Matimekush-Lac John, Pessamit, Uashat mak Mani-Utenam and Unamen Shipu and representing some 12,000 people, about 70 per cent of the Innu Nation living in Quebec — created blockades of mining roads in the Schefferville area.
At that time, the issue expressed was a lack of appropriate consultation with aboriginal groups prior to mining developments being approved.