Dene want say
Dene Nation concerned about Giant sale

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 15/99) - Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus is calling for full public disclosure of the Miramar Mining Corp. offer to buy Giant Mine.

While DIAND, Miramar, and receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers hammered out a deal, Erasmus said the first they heard of it was through the media. That, he said, is unacceptable.

"We want to know how it is possible that a deal that affects so many people living in Yellowknife, the surrounding area, and the whole of the Northwest Territories has not been made public," Erasmus said.

He said Akaitcho Treaty 8 is currently negotiating a land claim agreement and that "any deal that is being made within unceded Dene territory must involve the Dene."

"Treaty 8 royalty revenue sharing is on the (land claim negotiation) table. Giant Mine is not immune to that and Con mine isn't either," Erasmus said.

"The lion's share (of royalty revenue) is no longer going to go to the federal government. The lion's share may go to the Dene and the new owners of Giant should know that."

At the Dene National Assembly in July, a motion was passed stating that all Dene First Nations requests to engage in "meaningful and direct" dialogue regarding mining and mineral exploration have been "ignored and disregarded."

The motion also stated that because the Dene own the land that these mine sites are built on, the Dene National Assembly is directing the federal government "to implement a policy which would give contract priority to Dene First Nation institutions."

DIAND official David Nutter said because the negotiations with Miramar are corporate, there was no need to invite the Dene to participate.

"What we have here is a situation where a company is involved in corporate negotiations," Nutter said.

"I think the Dene Nation would agree, there are times that these negotiations must remain in confidence for a period of time."

Even though much of the Miramar deal is now public, Nutter admits there are still some "final details" to be ironed out.