Sharon says in Sun that where mineral exploration work is concerned, the vast majority of companies well understand the need for building relationships with Indigenous communities before they start:
“We don’t do ground-disturbing activities by just showing up and doing the work,” Singh said during the panel discussion. “We actually go forward and do the consultation that is required, the best practices we have in place.”
However, Singh said the difficult questions arise when companies give notice that they are interested in pre-disturbance work, such as examining airborne magnetic surveys and run into conditions set by First Nations that aren’t necessarily in the spirit of the UN Declaration.
That would include demands for payment before a First Nation will enter into discussions, which an early-stage exploration company might not be in the position to pay.
“That’s were some frustrations are,” Singh said, and where government needs to provide some leadership.