Ottawa

Algonquins ask province to help end uranium site dispute

Two First Nations communities have offered to end their three-month occupation of a potential uranium site in eastern Ontario if the province agrees to help resolve its dispute with a mining exploration company.

Two First Nations communities have offered to end their three-month occupation of a potential uranium site in eastern Ontario if the province agrees to help resolve its dispute with a mining exploration company.

Chief Doreen Davis of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and Paula Sherman, co-chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, sent a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty on Tuesday asked for mediation involving themselves and provincial and federal government representatives.

They proposed that during mediation they will suspend occupation of the site near Sharbot Lake, Ont., where Frontenac Ventures Corp. wants to do test drilling for uranium, provided that the company does not gain access to the site, and no mineral exploration and mining takes place during the mediation process.

The Algonquins say the land is theirs, they should have been consulted about the mining and they oppose uranium mining for environmental reasons.

They have already met twice with provincial representatives.

Protesters from the two communities have been blocking access to the site, about 60 kilometres north of Kingston since late June.

That is despite a temporary court injunction issued in August and a permanent injunction issued last week granting the company access to the site, and ordering police to arrest and remove the protesters.

The injunctions were requested by Frontenac Ventures, which is also suing the Algonquins for $77 million.

In September, the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations launched a $10-million countersuit against the company and a $1-billion lawsuit against the province.

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