NEWS

Cree walkers against uranium mining arrive in Montreal after 850 km walk

12/15/2014 01:15 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST
A group of Cree protesters have reached their final destination after completing an 850-km march to protest against uranium exploration and mining in Quebec. 

The group arrived in downtown Montreal today to deliver a message to the province’s environmental protection agency, known as the BAPE, which is holding the last of a series of public hearings on uranium exploration.

They will make a presentation at the hearings this evening.

About 20 people made the full journey, walking an average of about 30 km a day over a three-month period, often in frigid temperatures.

The group left Mistissini, Que., a town northeast of Chibougamau, in the James Bay region, in late November. Youth Grand Chief Joshua Iserhoff said those they met along the way overwhelmingly supported a ban on uranium mining.

Uranium extraction has been on the table in Mistissini since 2006. A Boucherville-based company, Strateco Resources, has invested $120 million into developing a uranium mine in Mistissini in the last ten years.

The project was once seen as a key part of former premier Jean Charest's Plan Nord, a multi-billion dollar attempt to develop the province's north.

But the Mistissini project was put on hold in 2013 after the then-governing Parti Québecois introduced a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in Quebec.  

Last week, Strateco Resources filed a $190-million lawsuit against the province, asking for compensation for the investments made before the province blocked the project last year.

Matthew Coon Come, the Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation, said he supports the protesters and believes uranium mining would be devastating to the environment.

"We want Quebecers to stand with us," he said. "Let's all say no to uranium."

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