Canada's First Nation Group Unveils Mining Policies for Land Use
Mining in Canada just became a little more complicated.
On Monday, a group from the First Nations in south-central B.C. released a set of mining policies for all existing and proposed mining projects within its territory. The 54-page document, which is the first of its kind, outlines dozens of conditions and ‘mining rules’ the First Nation deemed necessary to protect the environment as well as secure adequate compensation to the organization for mine development.
“With this mining policy we can no longer be ignored or imposed upon, and the Province and industry can no longer claim they do not know how to work with us – this document spells that out in clear, specific terms," said Chief Sellars of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek), in a joint statement released Monday.
The group, which is comprised of the Xat’sull, T’exelc, Tsq’escen’ and Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem First Nations, says the document covers everything from staking a claim to commitments to cleaning up old mine sites.
"This is not about ending all mining," said Chief Patrick Harry, of the Stswecem'c/Xgat'tem (Canoe and Dog Creek) First Nation. "It is about ending the practice of anyone being allowed to stake a claim anywhere they want, exploring wherever they want, and developing projects regardless of our rights, concerns and objections."
He adds, “It is about making sure the right projects are accepted and done the right way, and that their operation, maintenance and adherence to conditions are monitored. We invite government and industry to work with us on this, not fight against us, as we are offering a way forward that ends confrontation and stagnation.”
First Nation owns 5.6 million hectares of land covered by the policy, which is home to four operating hard rock mines. In addition, companies like Newmont Mining, Gold Fields, Bearing Resources and Great Western Resources have all explored in the region in recent years.
The news release was published on the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council's Facebook page.
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