The Nation : What about the Matoush Uranium Project? It’s been a hot issue in Mistissini and the surrounding area.
Mathew Coon-Come: Chief Richard Shecapio was very clear in his statement at the public hearings held in Mistissini and Chibougamau
on November 23 and 25 in relation to the underground exploration phase ofn the Matoush project.
The public hearings were a forum for the commissioners of the federal review panel, COFEX, and the provincial
review panel, COMEX, to assess the Matoush project. The hearings were the final stage of the public review process
for the environmental impact study on the underground exploration phase of the Matoush project.
The Grand Council of the Crees, knowing that this was a difficult decision for the community of Mistissini,
and knowing that the decision was based on a great deal of research and fact-finding on the part of the community,
immediately acknowledged and offered full support to the Cree Nation of Mistissini in its decision to reject a
proposal for a uranium exploration mine within their territory.
Decisions of this nature are especially difficult for First Nations particularly at a time when we are seeking out development
proposals to address very real employment challenges. The Cree Nation as a whole remains open to mining
development opportunities provided that they are compatible with the Cree way of life. However, as Mistissini indicated,
on balance the community felt the potential impacts of this proposal far outweigh its benefits.
I was shocked to learn that there were reports in the media that suggested that the Grand Council had previously
supported the Matoush project. Knowing that the community was carrying its their own extensive research into
the potential impacts of uranium mining, and not wanting to prejudice their final decision on this project, the Grand
Council made no statement whatsoever on this project.