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TNG reasserts mining policy for mineral exploration in Chilcotin

TNG said it aims to provide certainty, protect environment, for mining in Tŝilhqot’in territory
On the road to Nemiah Valley, west of Williams Lake, a log gateway marks the entrance to Tsilhqot’in Title Lands. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Tŝilhqot’in National Government (TNG) has released a policy for any future mining exploration and development within Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) territory.

“The Tŝilhqot’in Nation has a long history of mining that goes back to the lucrative trading of obsidian rock from Anaheim Peak. The Tŝilhqot’in mining policy outlines what must happen for mining and exploration to be considered by the Nation,” said Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, tribal chair for TNG, in the release.

The policy affirms the TNG’s jurisdiction over mineral resources in TNG territory, TNG responsibilities to protect Tŝilhqot’in lands and resources for future generations and is said to outline how responsible mining may occur in Tsilhqot’in territory.

The policy is also aimed at exercising and asserting Tŝilhqot’in rights and title as well as provide greater certainty for mining and exploration companies.

Its primary aim is to reduce negative impacts to Tŝilhqot’in communities and the nen, and ensure the meaningful participation of Tŝilhqot’in in exploration, said the release.

“We know the importance of minerals to the global economy but nothing is more important to life [than] the environment that sustains it,” said Alphonse.

“The pandemic has shown us that we can adapt quickly with the right leadership. As we adapt to reduce the impacts of the climate crisis there will be increased pressure to access minerals. But let it be clear, exploration and extraction in our territory will not happen without our participation and agreement.”

The release said the draft policy has been in practice since it underwent public engagement in 2014.

The Tŝilhqot’in National Government is the governing body for the Tŝilhqot’in people. The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is comprised of six communities located throughout the Tŝilhqot’in (Chilcotin) territory and is the only First Nation in Canada with a court declaration of Aboriginal title (Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia).

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