Mining and Mineral Exploration

The First Nations Energy and Mining Council continues to advocate on behalf of British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples and communities to improve and ensure mineral exploration and mining law and policy align with the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to best support the human rights of Indigenous peoples through ‘free, informed, and prior consent’.

Mining and Consent Project

With the generous support of the Law Foundation of British Columbia, FNEMC is undertaking this Implementing Consent for Mining on Indigenous Lands Project to explore ways to implement “free, prior and informed consent” in relation to mining. This principle is integral to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is being implemented in BC through the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Indigenous nations increasingly rely on the UN Declaration to protect their lands in the face of resource development – this project will help in the development of tools to support protection of cutures and lands.

There are four parts to this project – each part is described and relevant links are included for each.

Part 1: Expert Issue Papers and Expert Webinars

We have commissioned legal experts to write brief issue papers on implementing consent from the Indigenous, international, and BC legal perspective. These papers were then discussed by the experts at a series of webinars held in November and December 2020.

A summary of the issues surveyed by each and links to the papers can be found here:


Doug White Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

Roshan Danesh Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

2. Implementation of the UN Declaration will entail nations granting consent for projects on Indigenous lands, regardless of whether title has been proven in a crown legal context. What are options to engage Indigenous approaches to Indigenous land ownership and stewardship? Expert: Roshan Danesh, QC

Doug White Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

Sheryl Lightfoot Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

3. Indigenous governance systems have established different mechanisms for inclusivity of community members for expressions of consent. What are mechanisms and opportunities to incorporate and reflect community perspectives such as women and youth? Expert: Professor Sheryl Lightfoot



Doug White Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

BC Legal Context Expert Paper Dave Joe – Self Determination

3. How might Indigenous nations move to better exercise self-determination under the UN Declaration? What concepts and values can be adduced from self-government agreements, particularly those in the Yukon, that can contribute to BC’s action plan? Expert: Dave Joe

Doug White Expert Paper Indigenous Legal Framework

BC Legal Context Expert Paper Harry Laforme

4. As Indigenous nations exercise their inherent rights and sovereignty, and as both Indigenous and BC governments give effect to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, is there a conflict of laws issue? How should prevailing laws concepts be interpreted in light of Article 34 of the UN Declaration? Expert: Justice Harry LaForme

Part 2 Discussion Paper

We are preparing a discussion paper summarizing the results of the expert papers and roundtables. This Discussion Paper will present practical considerations for implementing consent in the BC context.

We will also release the results of jurisdictional scan which will provide an overview of consent developments in other jurisdictions.

Part 3: Community Webinars

We will engage BC Indigenous communities through social media and online workshops in April to obtain feedback and practical perspectives on the proposals in the Discussion Paper. The intent is to connect with communities using social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and through online workshops that will enable Indigenous community members to share first-hand experiences and learnings.

Part 4: Final Mining and Consent Report

We will prepare a final report that summarizes our results and makes recommendations as to how consent for mining activities may be implemented. This report is intended to support implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, provide helpful tools at the community level and ensure that future mining projects proceed in a manner that is aligned with the UN Declaration.