Participant Funding Program – Aboriginal Funding Envelope
Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for the Environmental Assessment of the Proposed Dumont Nickel Mine Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is established pursuant to subsection 58(1.1) of the current Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels. The PFP also includes an Aboriginal Funding Envelope (AFE) to strengthen the ability of Aboriginal groups to participate in federal or joint federal-provincial environmental assessment (EA) processes and in related consultation activities.

A Funding Review Committee (FRC) independent of the EA was established for the proposed Dumont Nickel Mine Project (the Project). The EA of the Project is being conducted by means of a comprehensive study (CS). The FRC's purpose was to assess funding applications received under the PFPAFE for the proposed project, and to provide recommendations to the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) on whether funding should be provided, and if so, in what amount.

Under the AFE for this project, a total of $28,200 was made available to support Aboriginal participation in the EA, and related consultation and community engagement activities linked to the:

  • review and comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines;
  • review and comment on the EIS Summary or the EIS; and
  • review and comment on the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR).

The deadline to submit an application was May 14, 2012. One application was received requesting a total of $25,327.05.

On May 15, 2012, the FRC met to review the application. The FRC members were:

Mr. Bruce Young, retired Director with the Agency, acting as Committee Chairperson; and Mr. Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir.

Background

The Project consists of the construction, operation and decommissioning of an open-pit nickel mine located approximately 25 kilometres northwest of Amos, in Québec. The proponent intends to extract ore for 19 years, to mill the higher grade ore and temporarily stockpile the lower grade ore. At the end of mining phase of the open pit, the stockpiled lower grade ore will be used to feed the mill for another 12 more years, until the mining complex is closed after 31 years of operation. The ore treatment facility will have an initial capacity of 50 000 tonnes per day (t/d) which will be increased to 100 000 t/d after the fifth year of mining operations. The Project includes different related activities, such as constructing access roads and an eight-kilometre railroad link, and diverting Villemontel River tributaries.

Eligibility

Under the PFPAFE, funding may be provided to Aboriginal applicants to support their input to an EA and/or to support their engagement in consultation activities with the federal government. These activities must be linked to the EA of a proposed project through a CS, mediation or review panel.

Eligible recipients must plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed project and be able to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a direct, local interest in the Project, such as living or owning property in the project area;
  • Have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • Have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

The applicant was deemed to have met the eligibility criteria.

Under the PFPAFE, applicants can request funding for costs related to:

  • professional fees;
  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenses;
  • honoraria for Elders and Chiefs to attend meetings and functions;
  • ceremonial offerings related to receiving traditional knowledge in relation to the EA;
  • administrative and reporting costs;
  • local collection and/or distribution of information;
  • office supplies and telephone charges;
  • rental of office space and meeting rooms;
  • legal fees;
  • general media advertising and/or promotion;
  • purchase of information material, with supporting documentation; and
  • other detailed expenses.

Rationale for Allocation

In reviewing the application and in reaching its conclusions and recommendations, the FRC took into consideration a number of factors, including the following:

  • Whether the Aboriginal group could demonstrate that it plans to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed project.
  • The ability of the Aboriginal group to demonstrate that it had met one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above.
  • The quality, clarity and content of the application, particularly with respect to the relationship between specific project components and the applicant's traditional lands and resources, and the applicant's proposed EA participation work plan.
  • Project impacts on traditional lands and resources, and on the related interests and asserted rights and title of the First Nation represented by the applicant.
  • The eligible activities under the PFPAFE for the Project, which include review and comment on the EIS Guidelines, the EIS Summary or the EIS and the CSR.
  • The extent to which the proposed activities meet the requirements of the PFPAFE.
  • The maximum funding available to the applicant.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends allocating $25,027.05 of the available AFE funding to support the Abitibiwinni First Nation.

The FRC further recommends that any funding allocation be conditional on the applicant providing written comments to the Agency on the EIS Guidelines, the EIS Summary or the EIS, and the CSR.

Recommended Participant Funding Allocations
Dumont Nickel Mine Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

Applicant Total Allocation Amount Recommended
Abitibiwinni First Nation $25,027.05
TOTAL $25,027.05

The Funding Review Committee
Dumont Nickel Mine Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

_____________________________________________________
Bruce Young, Committee Chairperson, retired Director with the Agency

_____________________________________________________
Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir

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