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Pessamit Innu to Nevado: Quit Drilling!

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The Pessamit Innu are lashing out at Nevado Resources Corp. for “carrying out illegal drilling activities” on the aboriginal group’s ancestral territory on the Nitassinan, near La Blache Lake.

The Council, the political organization representing the 4,000-population reserve on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, said on Feb. 1 that it has filed a complaint against Nevado with the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife. The council is demanding that the company suspend all mining activities immediately and asking the Quebec government to inform the company of the irregularities.

"We have never given Nevado permission to drill on our territory. We demand that it cease all activities immediately," the chief of the Innu Council of Pessamit, Raphaël Picard, said in a statement on Jan. 31. "This company has totally denied our fundamental constitutional right to be consulted and accommodated. This is unacceptable.”

The Council was responding to Nevado’s Jan. 26 announcement that it has begun a 10,000-meter diamond-drilling program at its La Blache Iron-Titanium-Vanadium Property in Northern Quebec.

The Pessamit forged agreements Argex Silver Capital Inc. and St George Platinum Ltd. in May 2010 allowing the companies to explore for deposits of titanium, iron and vanadium for Argex and platinum, palladium, rhodium, copper, nickel, cobalt and gold for St-Georges.

Nevado has no such agreement with the Pessamit, and Picard said they will take their complaint as far as they need to.

"We will protect the interests and look after the concerns of the Innu in Pessamit,” Picard’s statement said. “If the unauthorized exploitation of our territory continues, we will have no other choice but to take the necessary legal recourse, to protect our aboriginal rights and our other fundamental rights recognized by the courts.”