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What is at stake?: Diamonds, mineral tenure, and the law of free-entry in the Northwest Territories

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Mineral staking regulations determining exploration processes in the Northwest Territories are guided by a historically based assumption called the free-entry principle. This assumption is fundamental to mineral staking legislation and is criticized because free-entry mineral staking can take place prior to consultation with aboriginal communities with active claims to land title. When free-entry is challenged, property rights questions arise, particularly during onset of exploration ventures. This is pertinent because of diamond exploration, especially during the 1990s boom. This thesis explains how free-entry works in Canada’s north and examines mineral rights and aboriginal title. Research is based on interviews in Yellowknife in 2007. The mineral staking process is analyzed through the framework formerly called the Canada Mining Regulations. Canadian mining standards are promoted as among the best in the world. However, the law of free-entry may still be understood as part of the process that dispossesses land from First Nations.
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