VICTORIA – The B.C. government signed its 13th and 14th mine revenue sharing agreements Thursday, giving two Williams Lake-area aboriginal communities a share of revenues from a metal mine expansion.
The Williams Lake Indian Band and the Xatsull (Soda Creek) First Nation will share 35 per cent of provincial royalties from an expansion of the Mt. Polley mine east of Williams Lake.
Williams Lake Chief Ann Louie said a partnership with mine operator Imperial Metals has already resulted in employment for some of her community’s 700 members, and the revenue agreement is another important step forward.
Xatsull Chief Bev Sellars issued a statement on the agreement.
“We welcome this long-awaited acknowledgment of our environmental and economic interests that Xatsull holds in our stewardship area,” Sellars said.
Aboriginal Relations Minister Ida Chong said it is not yet possible to put a dollar figure on the agreement, because it depends on how much copper, gold and silver is produced by the mine expansion and the market price at the time.
The expansion of Mt. Polley has received environmental permits and is expected to operate until 2024. The company projects that during its life it will produce 34 million pounds of copper, 46,800 ounces of gold and 90,000 ounces of silver.