NationTalk: NITAKINAN, QC – The Anishinabeg Chiefs and Councils of Lac Simon and Abitibiwinni wish to announce that they will be attending (virtually) the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Sayona Mining Limited “Sayona” (ASX: SYA) (OTCQB: SYAXF) taking place in Australia at 10:00am on November 30th (Brisbane time) in order to remind shareholders and potential investors in Sayona’s combined “North American Lithium-Authier” megaproject in Quebec that no mining or refining project is possible in Canada without obtaining a social license from Indigenous People (First Nations).
Chief Lucien Wabanonik of the Lac Simon First Nation and Chief Chantal Kistabish of the Abitibiwinni First Nation are therefore making an unequivocal appeal to Sayona’s Board of Directors and its shareholders, as well as to the Quebec government, to sincerely commit to equitably sharing the economic benefits of the mining and refining of lithium extracted from the unceded ancestral territories of the two First Nations.
Sayona must equitably share with the First Nations the economic benefits of mineral resources, including with respect to the refining of such resources.
After almost two years at the negotiating table, despite Sayona’s repeated public statements that it wishes to establish a partnership, Sayona continues to refuse to offer an equitable share of the economic benefits that will be generated from Sayona’s planned refinement of lithium extracted from the Lac Simon and Abitibiwinni territories (to produce either lithium carbonate or hydroxide for electric batteries).
However, Sayona’s senior management in Canada is well aware that under Canadian law, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principles of economic reconciliation, a partnership with First Nations is essential for any mining project planned on their ancestral territories. Despite this, and despite the fact that the First Nations are the true owners of the resources present on their territories, Lac Simon and Abitibiwinni are faced with a lack of consideration from Sayona and the Quebec government, who refuse to treat them as real partners.
Given Sayona’s bad faith at the negotiating table and the Quebec government’s lack of openness, the Chiefs of the two First Nations have a message for the mining company’s shareholders and potential investors: there will be no social license from our First Nations. This means that we will not give our consent to Sayona’s combined North American Lithium-Authier megaproject and that we will oppose all current and future activities by Sayona on our territories.
For more than a century, the mineral wealth of the Anishinabeg ancestral territories has been explored and exploited by the mining industry without consent and without fair compensation. We will not allow this new generation of mines to repeat the mistakes of the past, and we refuse to be ignored by industry and governments. Mining development today must be carried out in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, while ensuring the protection and sustainability of lands, culture and traditions for future generations.
About the Abitibiwinni First Nation
The Abitibiwinni First Nation is governed by a Council made up of a Chief, a Vice-Chief and three Councillors elected by custom. The Abitibiwinni First Nation has Aboriginal rights recognized and confirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 over their traditional territory. Their community of Pikogan is located approximately three kilometres from Amos, on the west bank of the Harricana River, in the province of Quebec, Canada.
About the Lac Simon Anishnabe Nation
The Lac Simon Anishnabe Nation is governed by a Council made up of a Chief, a Vice-Chief and three Councillors who are elected according to custom. The Lac Simon Anishnabe First Nation has Aboriginal rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 over their traditional territory. Their community of Lac Simon is located 32 km south-east of the town of Val-d’Or in the province of Quebec, Canada.
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