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Oilsands Quest Inc Common Stock Message Board

  • tonytechs_2000 tonytechs_2000 Jun 22, 2007 3:43 PM Flag

    Oilsands Quest comments on road block by aboriginal group in Saskatchewan

    Oilsands Quest comments on road block by aboriginal group in Saskatchewan

    Jun 22, 2007 14:46:00 (ET)

    CALGARY, June 22, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Oilsands Quest Inc. (BQI, Trade ) states its position on issues surrounding a road blockade created yesterday (June 21) by the Clearwater River Dene Nation in northwest Saskatchewan.

    "Our current operations have not been affected by the roadblock," said Christopher H. Hopkins, President & Chief Executive Officer of Oilsands Quest. The company's base camp and operations, which are to a great degree self-sufficient, are located about 150 kilometres from the location of the roadblock, which is on the Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN).

    "Due to media inquiries we have been receiving, we felt it was necessary to communicate our response to comments made in a news release by the CRDN," said Mr. Hopkins. "Oilsands Quest has been working closely with the communities in the northwest region, in particular the Clearwater River Dene Nation and the town of La Loche, on training, employment and other commercial benefits, and we will continue to do so in the future."

    Working with leaders of the local communities, the company has pro-actively established an excellent record for local employment and purchase of goods and services in northwest Saskatchewan. In addition, Oilsands Quest has been negotiating with CRDN to formalize an Exploration Benefits Agreement. The company is also in discussion with the mayor and council of La Loche for a similar agreement.

    "The agreements deal with jobs and contracts, and must reflect our goal that the economic benefits of our activities should be available to all stakeholders in the region," said Mr. Hopkins. "We respect the unique rights and interests of the CRDN and, given our good relationship with them, thought we could come to an agreement. However, they broke off discussions at a meeting we had with the CRDN Chief and Council in Saskatoon on Wednesday, June 20."

    According to a news release issued by the CRDN on Thursday, June 21: (quote) "Clearwater tabled a draft agreement that included provisions which met industry standards in relation to benefits to accrue to the First Nation. Oilsands Quest proposed an agreement which fell short of industry standards in all respects." (end quote)

    "We simply disagree," said Mr. Hopkins. "I have been involved in oil sands development for years, and have seen many different forms of benefits arrangements. These agreements differ depending on the project and its impact, and the particular rights and interests of the communities concerned. There is no industry standard. Oilsands Quest tabled a draft agreement that was fair to all stakeholders and the CRDN. In our view, the CRDN draft did not meet that standard. It demanded that the CRDN have priority over all other First Nations people, Metis and other residents of neighboring communities."

    "We are disappointed that the CRDN leadership chose to abruptly suspend our negotiations and that they have chosen to block the highway," said Mr. Hopkins. "We look forward to resolving this issue as quickly as possible to the benefit of all parties. We are, of course, consulting with the Province. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and hope to see some positive action soon."

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