Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: The Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (“MN-S”) has filed a claim against NexGen Energy Ltd. (“NexGen”) (TSX: NXE; NYSE MKT: NXE) in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan stating that NexGen is in breach of its obligations under the Study Agreement that was signed between NexGen and MN-S (including on behalf of the Locals of MN-S Northern Region II). MN-S efforts are being led by MN-S Northern Region II leadership, with the full support of MN-S President Glen McCallum and the MN-S executive.
MN-S is seeking from the Court: a declaration that NexGen is in breach of its obligations to negotiate an Impact Benefit Agreement (“IBA”) with MN-S in good faith and on a best efforts basis; an interlocutory injunction restraining NexGen from filing its draft environmental impact statement in respect of the Rook 1 Project (the “Project”); damages; and costs.
The Project is located within the heart of MN-S Northern Region II and the Métis Northwest Land Claim. Métis people represent a majority or near-majority of the potentially impacted population. In 2018, Canada agreed to a process to address the Northwest Land Claim.
MN-S and MN-S Northern Region II leadership are concerned that the Project will have significant and long-lasting impacts on Métis communities, Métis lands, and Métis rights and culture, particularly in MN-S Northern Region II.
Leonard Montgrand, Regional Director of MN-S Northern Region II, stated:
“We are concerned that NexGen is moving ahead with the Project without first meeting its obligations under the Study Agreement.
The Project is going to be huge and will impact our communities, culture, lands and rights for generations, and in ways we will not know or understand for years to come. It will also strip away a key resource from the Northwest Claim and leave a hazardous
legacy. NexGen’s commitments to negotiate an IBA under the Study Agreement provided an opportunity for us to work together for mutual benefit, and in a way that would respect, protect and advance Métis rights and interests and the health and wellbeing of the communities in MN-S Northern Region II.
We are disappointed by NexGen’s behaviour and how things have worked out. I was particularly upset when they refused to meet with us if we had counsel or advisors present. That type of attitude is offensive, paternalistic and has no place in 2020. Given no other option, we agreed to meet on these troubling terms, since we believed it was critically important that they understand how the Project will impact our lands, communities, and rights. That meeting, and the events around it, further reinforced our concerns with NexGen’s behaviour to- date.
We are asking the Court to prevent NexGen from making its regulatory filings until it has met its Study Agreement obligations.”
MN-S President Glen McCallum stated:
“The Study Agreement provides a pathway to protect and advance the rights and interests of Métis in MN-S Northern Region II and to find opportunities to collaborate through a potentially long and challenging regulatory process. NexGen’s behaviour to- date raises serious concerns as to whether those objectives and opportunities can still be achieved.
MN-S is committed to protecting Métis rights, interests, and lands in Saskatchewan, and ensuring governments and proponents live up to their promises. The rights and concerns of Saskatchewan Métis have been marginalized for too long. The Government of Saskatchewan has encouraged this approach through its unconstitutional 2010 First Nation and Métis Consultation Policy Framework, which discourages or outrightly rejects consideration of Métis rights-based concerns. This must, and will, change.”
The Project will be subjected to an environmental assessment conducted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, a federal agency. In 2019, MN-S and the Government of Canada signed the “Metis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement”, which, among other things, recognizes that MN-S is mandated to represent the Métis of Saskatchewan.