BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council Calls for Mining Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Coast Salish Traditional Territory (North Vancouver). In the wake of the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach in the Shushwap Nation territory, the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) is calling on the Provincial government to commence discussions with all First Nations to ensure such a disaster does not happen again.
Dave Porter the CEO of the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council states, “this is at least the seventh breach that we are aware of in the last ten years and based upon this record we can expect more unless we immediately get on top of this urgent matter”. Two other examples occurred in 2004 at the Pinchi Mine in the traditional territory of the Tl’azt’en Nation and Nak’azdli First Nation had to deal with the mine breach and in 2005 when the Takla Lake First Nation were forced to deal with a breach from an abandoned jade property at Ogden Mountain.
This issue demonstrates what the FNEMC has stated for several years that major reforms are required in the mining and mineral exploration sectors. Performance bonds that are required to mitigate and monitor projects in perpetuity are insufficient in major breaches such as the Mount Polley disaster. Mining companies that bring these projects forward should bear the financial burden of mitigation of these potential damages.
Dave Porter further states that, “it is important to note that British Columbia approved the neighbouring Taseko Prosperity Mine project which proposed similar approaches to tailings management which were rejected by the First Nations. We all have a collective interest to ensure that the sustainable development occurs and that disasters such as the Mount Polley, Pinchi Lake, and Ogden Mountain never occur again. BC should create a modern process designed to protect people and ecosystems.”
FNEMC proposes a First Nations-Provincial mining protocol is developed discuss ideas such as the following:
• Reform of the environmental assessment and permitting processes to understand the real risks of mining proposals.
• A process for First Nations and Provincial officials to contain and mitigate the effects of this spill.
• Monitoring of all current and abandoned dams by First Nations in BC.
• Water testing of all impacted waterways by First Nations.
• A forum for First Nations to bring concerns to discuss jointly with Provincial officials.
Dave Porter, CEO
BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council
Telephone: 604 924 3844