The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)

B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

  • Jun. 24, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The province of B.C is set to negotiate its first consent-based decision making agreement based on Section 7 of the Declaration of the Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) with Tahltan First Nation.

The province is holding talks with the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) – the political arm of the Tahltan First Nation – mining companies and stakeholders to reach an agreement related to environmental assessment approvals for two mining projects in Tahltan Territory.

These include the expansion of the Red Chris copper and gold mine located 80 kilometres south of Dease Lake and operated by Australian company Newcrest Red Chris Mining Ltd., and the Eskay Creek Mine operated by Skeena Resources Ltd.

The Tahltan Nation is also an investor in Skeena Resources and has developed a strong relationship with Newcrest Red Chris Mining Ltd. Both projects represent up to $3.3 billion in potential investment.

The Red Chris JV (Newcrest Red Chris Mining Ltd.) and Eskay Creek Revitalization Project (Skeena Resources) mining projects in the core Territory of the Tahltan Nation represent up to $3.3 billion in potential investment.

The provincial government’s move to table negotiations with TCG and mining stakeholders came a week after both governments signed a Shared Prosperity Agreement to achieve long-term land-use predictability on June 10. As part of this agreement, the province committed $20 million to TCG to support economic growth and reconciliation.

READ MORE: Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Welcoming the agreement, TCG president Chad Norman Day said that it provides “an opportunity to meaningfully advance reconciliation grounded in the principles of respect and recognition of Tahltan rights and title.”

“The ongoing evolution and growth of the Tahltan Nation shows outside governments, industry and the world how working alongside the Tahltan Nation as true partners can help secure certainty, economic benefits and pride for everyone involved,” said Day.

Spread across 95,933 square kilometres of northwestern British Columbia Tahltan territory covers 11 per cent of the province and includes 70 per cent of B.C.’s resource rich ‘golden triangle’.

Along with Newcrest and Skeena Resources other stakeholders such as Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, Mining Association of British Columbia, Association for Mineral Exploration and Business Council of British Columbia will also be part of the consultation.

The discussions are scheduled to take place under the framework of Section 7 of the DRIPA Act– which B.C. adopted in 2019– which sets out provisions for negotiating consent-based decision making agreements for the the purposes of reconciliation.

“If we are successful, the agreement would bring greater clarity in decision-making and forge a partnership with the Tahltan Nation on two projects. It would also support Tahltan self-government and promote significant economic development in the region,” said Murray Rankin, B.C.’s Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation Minister.

Smithers Interior News