The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Quebec Innu file $900-million lawsuit against Iron Ore Company of Canada

  • Print

MONTREAL - Two Quebec Innu communities have filed a $900-million lawsuit against the Iron Ore Co. of Canada, claiming the miner has violated its rights for nearly 60 years.

The Innu First Nations of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (Uashaunnuat) and Matimekush-Lac John (MLJ) said the IOC, which is majority owned by Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), caused harm by operating a large mining complex and railway on traditional territory (Nitassinan) in northeastern Quebec and Labrador since the 1950s without their prior consent.

The mining complex and activities are located in the communities of Schefferville, Labrador City and Sept-Iles.

"IOC and now Rio Tinto are the companies that have inflicted the most harm on the Uashaunnuat and MLJ and caused the most damage to our Nitassinan," vice-chief Mike McKenzie of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam said in a statement on Wednesday.

The lawsuit and a motion seeking an injunction to stop all mining activity were filed Monday in Quebec Superior Court. They claim that IOC's mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practising their traditional way of life.

They also said the 578-kilometre railway between Schefferville and Sept-Iles has opened up their territory to "numerous other destructive development project."

The allegations have not been proven in court.

IOC and Rio Tinto didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The $900 million being sought represents IOC's profits at the facilities since 1954, according to Innu calculations.

Innu leaders said they aren't opposed to mining development, but have failed in their attempts over two years at "reconciliation" with the mining company and its large owner.

"A balance must be achieved, but regrettably, IOC's practices are of a bygone era. This must stop," added Chief Real McKenzie of Matimekush-Lac John.

IOC's operations were recently expanded at a cost of $732 million. Rio Tinto is reportedly trying to sell its 58.7 per cent stake in the company. Mitsubishi holds a 26.2 per cent stake and Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corporation (TSX:LIF) holds the remaining 15.1 per cent stake and receives a seven per cent gross royalty on all IOC iron ore sales.

The Innu communities have reached agreements with miners ArcelorMittal, Cliffs Natural Resources, Tata Steel, New Millennium Iron and Labrador Iron Mines (TSX:LIM) that provide financial compensation for the mining activities.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Theresa Oswald announces bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google