Area First Nations launch mining policy

Canim, Williams Lake bands join Soda Creek, Canoe Creek bands

  • Dec. 10, 2015 8:00 a.m.

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw Leadership Council consisting of four area First Nations representatives has adopted a comprehensive and detailed mining policy.

It will be applied to all existing, proposed and future projects that involve or impact its lands, waters and rights.

The Council is comprised of the Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake band) Xat’sull (Soda Creek Indian Band), T’exelc (Williams Lake Band), and Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe/Dog Creek Indian Band) First Nations.

“This is not a draft document; it is a carefully researched and clearly written policy which states what will be required for any mine work at any level to proceed,” says Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake Band) Chief Mike Archie.

He adds the four bands involved have developed the tools to ensure their people have knowledge of First Nations title and rights, and mining laws and regulations, to enforce the policy and ensure compliance with any agreements.

A council release states the mining policy is “a clear statement of leadership and authority” by the Northern Secwepemc people within their stewardship and title lands in British Columbia.

The policy was developed by the Fair Mining Collaborative, along with a tool kit to manage its implementation and enforcement.

Archie explains these cover every stage of the mining process, as well as agreement compliance and benefits from operating mines.

“B.C.’s mining laws need reforming – from free-entry claims staking to the environmental review process to the monitoring and enforcement of mine regulations and clean-up commitments – but while British Columbians are being forced to wait for government and industry to ‘wake up’ to this reality, we intend to ensure that we reform what happens on our lands.”