Ya’thi Néné signs “working partnership” with Appia Rare Earth & Uranium Corp in exploration agreement

Ya’thi Néné Lands and Resources (YNLR) announced the signing of a partnership agreement with Toronto-based Appia Rare Earth & Uranium Corp according to a news release dated Friday, Jan. 26.

YNLR is a non-profit, 100 per cent owned by the three First Nations, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation, and Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, and the four communities, the Northern Settlement of Uranium City, the Northern Settlement of Camsell Portage, Wollaston Lake and the Northern Hamlet of Stony Rapids in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca region, Garrett Schmidt, YNLR’s executive director said, in an interview with the Northern Advocate.

The entity was set up “to support the communities it oversee their traditional territories in the Athabasca Basin and primarily working with industry, government and others who want to operate in the Basin and make sure that the communities participate and benefit meaningfully from those interactions, Schmidt said.

It is set up with the Chiefs, mayors and a person from each community as members, along with an appointed director, making up the Board of Directors.

They also have a number of sub committees, he said.

The mandate is to protect the land, which is overseen by one subcommittee along with education and community development, which is the responsibility of the second subcommittee.

They have offices in Saskatoon, Uranium City, Fond du Lac and Hatchet Lake with approximately 20 staff and YNLR was formed in 2016 and they have signed benefit agreements with industry such as CAMECO and ORANO.

And is base purpose is to protect the rights and values of First Nations and they are called “Cooperation Agreements,” Schmidt said.

Appia has properties throughout the Basin which are part of their exploration work and the agreement gives YNLR the rights to monitor the company’s operations within the Basin, he said.

Stephen Burega, president of Appia, said, he appreciates the co-operation agreement, because it’s clear regarding the operation of his companies work in the area, particularly in working with First Nation people of the area in a respectful way.

Appia is an exploration company with interests in the Basin, in other parts of Canada and in Brazil.

They are exploring for rare earth, which is used in “turbine electric engines, cell phones and almost every aspect of electronics,” and uranium, as it has reached the $100 mark for the first time more than a decade, Burega said, in an interview with the Northern Advocate.

“This agreement lays out all of the basics so, we know that we are supported and they know that we are in agreement to communicate properly and to consult with Elders and consult with the Chief and Council. That’s a big part of what I believe is necessary for successful business,” he said.

Appia, strictly an exploration company, operates under the Appia name in Canada and PHC name with its entities in Brazil, Burega said.