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Alaska Native tribes ask to be consulted on proposed mine in B.C.

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb7,2024

Native tribes in Alaska ask to be consulted on proposed mine in B.C.

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In 2022, British Columbia's mining industry contributed $7.3 billion to the province's gross domestic product, approximately 3% of the total, more than any other natural resource sector. (Archive photo)


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A coalition of Alaska-based First Nations has applied to participate in an environmental assessment process in British Columbia on the proposed Eskay Creek mine.

The large open-pit gold and silver mine is located in British Columbia, near the Alaska border, and is proposed by Skeena Resources.

The Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida of Alaska (Prince of Wales Island), under the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), has applied to be admitted to the review process of the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office as a participating Indigenous nation.

To obtain this status, these indigenous communities hope to assert that their traditional territory also extends into British Columbia.

Louie Wagner Jr. is a member of the Native community of Metlakatla, Alaska. He explains that contamination from other mining projects has affected the river for years.

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We started seeing all this debris coming down the river and we didn't know where it was coming from. We didn't know there was a mine near the river until a pilot told me, he told CBC/Radio-Canada.

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The Brucejack gold mine is located in the Alaska border region on the Unuk River in British Columbia.

Robert Lundberg is an attorney representing the group. We are giving British Columbia and the Canadian government the opportunity to fulfill their constitutional obligations, he says.

Thanks to a 2021 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, regulators may be under a duty to consult with the SEITC – considered as an Indigenous nation – just like the First Nations of Canada. This would be a historic precedent in the country.

In a press release published in January 2023, Skeena Resources welcomes the signing of the charter of the process authorization and other key steps in the approval process for the Eskay Creek gold-silver project located on the Tahltan territory.

The Tahltan First Nation has already concluded an agreement in 2021 with Skeena Resources for the mine project located on its traditional territory.

With information from Caitrin Pilkington

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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