Northern First Nation Blocks Road to Mine

Monday, August 30, 2004 at 15:15



The Clearwater River Dene Nation has followed through on its threat to block all commercial traffic on the road to the Cluff Lake mine site.


A blockade went up Friday afternoon just north of La Loche, and it’s still in place.


Band chief Roy Cheecham says the First Nation is unhappy with Cogema Resources over the contracts the company awarded for the mine’s decommissioning.


He says residents of his reserve and the neighbouring village of La Loche have been shut out of the decommissioning jobs.


Cheecham is calling on Cogema to award those communities all the available general labour and heavy equipment operator jobs.


Cheecham says the band also wants to send a message to government to stop handing out leases to outside groups for land within the band’s traditional territory.


The RCMP is on the scene monitoring the demonstration and spokeswoman Heather Russell says it’s been peaceful so far.


Cheecham says the band is serious about its demands, and says the blockade will remain up until their concerns are addressed.