HudBay granted injunction to keep First Nation from mine
Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting has been granted a court injunction to keep the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation from holding more protests at its mining project in northern Manitoba.
The injunction, which was awarded by the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench on Wednesday, comes as HudBay is suing the First Nation over Idle No More protests that took place on January 28 and March 5.
HudBay has claimed that protesters from the First Nation created a safety risk to employees by blocking the entrance to its Lalor Lake gold, zinc and copper property, which is being developed near Snow Lake, Man.
The Mathias Colomb Cree Nation is located northwest of Snow Lake.
The protesters have claimed that it was the company that closed the gate. They have also argued that the incidents were not blockades, but were demonstrations in which members exercised their treaty rights.
Before Wednesday's hearing began, Mathias Colomb Chief Arlen Dumas and his supporters held a protest outside the Winnipeg courthouse.
Then, as the hearing got underway, Dumas stormed out of the courtroom in frustration over the proceedings.
In a news release issued after the hearing, Dumas said the First Nation's lawyer "was not permitted to finish any of his arguments, was constantly interrupted and not permitted reasonable time to review surprise affidavits filed by HudBay lawyers.
"The judge made most of HudBay's arguments for them and allowed their lawyer uninterrupted presentation time," Dumas added.
The chief is accusing the province and HudBay of not consulting the First Nation or seeking consent to mine in what he says is its traditional territory.
The First Nation never surrendered its rights to the land and resources, Dumas said.
The injunction prevents Dumas, members of the First Nation and Idle No More activist Pamela Palmater from entering the mine site.
Work is underway on development of Lalor Lake, a 916-hectare property. Initial production began in August 2012, and the mine is expected to go into its first full year of production in 2015, according to HudBay's website.