I can speak to that, because I grew up on that lake. Certainly we're seeing changes to our lake, to Lake Athabasca, from the oil sands development. Our people who fish, who live off the land....
It's not only in that area. We're not exactly sure where it's coming from, but we know that there are abandoned mines, with effluent and tailings management from existing mines, from Gunnar and Larado, that have been seeping into our lakes for the last 50 years. To this day it's still happening.
So yes, we do have big environmental concerns. It does affect our people in terms of fishing and sustainability because it's killing our fish. There's evidence that fish are dying and fish are disappearing within those mine sites. And the water levels affect us on Lake Athabasca. Not only that, but the proposed B.C. hydro...could also have an impact on Lake Athabasca for us. There is concern about the project “C” that's undergoing environmental assessment in B.C.
I just want to elaborate a little bit more on your question about the tools and triggers in terms of a bidding process. Certainly there is no process in place, but with good corporate social responsibility from the companies, I think, under provincial legislation.... There's some legislation within Northern Development affairs that they have to have a northern contract in their uranium mines development. But that legislation is itself so outdated—it's been there for 20 or 30 years—it doesn't meet the standards of the current society.
Certainly one way of having to have different kinds of tools available for us in terms of economic development and cooperation is to have, as I said earlier, modern business partnerships with the existing mines and companies and to have an impact and benefit-sharing agreement. We do have an existing IMA, but it doesn't address the current needs and traditions of our people.
The mining companies understand that. Yes, they are prepared to renegotiate our existing impact management agreement, but one of the shortfalls we have in that process is negotiation funds for our people, to have some training funds towards renegotiating the impact management agreement. Aside from that, the companies are willing to provide all the resource dollars for the negotiation process. Certainly the downfall is in terms of the training, so that our negotiators can understand the different types of negotiations and the different types of impact management or benefit-sharing agreements. We need to understand what's going to work for us and what's not going to work for the mining companies. It works both ways. We need to have good understanding of those processes, including the world market in uranium mining.
We live right next door to these mines, and we wonder how a lot of their effluent or discharges affect the environment. But—