Canadian Blackstone Ventures to Mine Reindeer Pastures, Sweden

September 20, 2010 • Philip BurgessReindeer Herders

The Canadian mining company Blackstone ventures has managed to buy the rights to start drilling in the Vindelfjällen nature reserve in the north of Sweden. The company is planning to drill right by one of the most ancient Sámi summer villages still inhabited every summer by the reindeer herders and reindeer  of Grans Sameby, the northernmost mountain Sami village in Västerbotten.

This story has been getting some coverage in the Swedish Sami media, most recently with this  story,  where it was reported that the Grans Sameby wanted  Blackstone to pay them 1.5 million SEK (215,000 USD) for the additional work and feed for reindeer because now Sami had to keep animals in enclosures and feed them artificially instead of free-grazing. Village leader, Tobias Jonsson says that they had several meetings with Blackstone, only when the company applied for exploration permits for areas Vindelvaggen 1-4, and Umeå lake. Then they had several consultations on the work plans, but the mining company Blackstone has been unwilling to listen to the Sami village’s views.

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    Donald A. McInnes – Chairman and Director Blackstone Ventures
    Donald A. McInnes – Vice-Chairman and CEO, Plutonic Power Corporation
    Donald A. McInnes – President Western Keltic Mines

    The complete disregard for the prior ownership rights of native communities is evident in the case of proposed copper mining on lands of the Kuna people of Panama. Faced with the determined opposition of the Kuna, Donald McInnes, the president of the Canadian company, Western Keltic Mines, was quoted as saying, “they have explained to me that the Kunas have not permitted us to enter their territory, but I like challenges.”

    PANAMA – Panama’s 60,000 Kuna people have long resisted efforts by outsiders to gain a foothold on their land – 378 islands off the northeast coast of the isthmus. In recent years, a stranger made friends by buying Kuna handicrafts at double the going price. He requested that the Kunas provide him with the official tribal seal to authenticate the crafts for marketing in North America. The seal later appeared on documents that authorized granting six gold mining concessions that cover most of Kuna territory. The “friendly stranger” turned out to be Donald McInnes, president of Vancouver’s Western Keltic Mines, Inc., who used the seal to claim paper rights to mine Kuna territory. Kuna High Chief Sahila Tomas De Leon is asking for help to put pressure on Western Keltic [675 W. Hastings St., No. 501, BC, Canada, (604) 682-6414, fax: -3727,].

    See Also:

    Lopez, Atencio, 1996. “Panama: the Indigenous People and the Mining Threat.”
    IndigenousAffairs 2:20-22 (April/May/June). International Work Group for
    Indigenous Affairs. Copenhagen, Denmark.

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  • Good day! Is there an opportunity to ask you for financial support (Grant), a project for the future album “The Sami of Russia”. Part of the photo album can be seen on my website
    Sincerely, Alexander Stepanenko.