Taku River Tlingit First Nation

March 13, 2007 06:00 ET

New Taku River Tlingit Mining Policy Sets "Rules of Engagement"-a Canadian First

ATLIN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 13, 2007) - For the first time in Canada, a First Nation has produced a comprehensive mining policy that clearly sets out the rules of engagement for potential mining companies. Officially released today, the Taku River Tlingit First Nation Mining Policy is innovative, forward-looking and real-world.

"Our new mining policy clearly sets out how we will deal with proposals for mining-related activities in our traditional territory," says TRTFN spokesperson, Sandra Jack.

"Concisely and clearly, it spells out our determination to protect our land and aquatic resources while, at the same time, providing an accessible and easy-to-understand guide for mining companies who would like to do business with us.

"The Policy provides increased certainty," Jack says. "As long as the miners agree to these ground rules. This is not a Policy that gives the go ahead to every mining project. The protection of our community and territory come first. When the ore runs out or the commodity boom fizzles on the stock market, the Tlingit people will still be here. Responsible companies will respect that."

"This is our home. We intend to protect it. We are going to live here forever."

According to Jack, the 17-page Policy sets out the following:

- the principles on which the TRTFN government bases its own decisions respecting proposals for mining-related activities in the territory;

- TRTFN procedures for dealing with proposals for mining-related activities in the territory;

- TRTFN's standards and expectations for mining-related activities and proponents in the territory; and

- procedures that proponents may use to seek the consent and support of TRTFN government for mining-related activities.

According to Jack, the new Policy also details the principles, procedures and applications so that potential mining partners will have a transparent and open guide.

The Policy also sets out a priorized system for a preliminary evaluation of a particular proposal as well as the decisions relating to exploration activities, environmental assessments and impacts and benefits agreements.

All aspects of the Policy are directly linked to TRTFN's aboriginal rights.

Jack says the Policy points the way to the "New Relationship in Action" with Canada's mining industry. Its release is timely, she says, coming two weeks after a Fraser Institute study claimed the mining investment climate in B.C. is the poorest in Canada.

The survey shows British Columbia, after steadily improving since 2001, has stalled and is the lowest ranked of the Canadian provinces.

Jack believes the new TRTFN mining policy is prescriptive, pointing the way to clarity and concision -- more open dialogue between First Nations and mining companies.

"Our new policy puts meat on the bones of New Relationship. It steers us away from conflict, confusion and uncertainty and towards social, economic and environmental sustainability and respect for aboriginal rights," she says.

The new policy also stipulates that TRTFN will remain vigilant when it comes to protecting its land, wildlife and aquatic resources.

"The voices of our Elders are woven into our new policy," Jack says. "We spent considerable time and effort talking to, and incorporating their ideas and values into the document. The policy is really an extension of their love and great respect for the land, rivers, resources and wildlife."

In a related development, permits may soon be granted to Adanac Molybdenum Corp. for its proposed Ruby Creek molybdenum mine 24 kms northeast of Atlin, and a three-hour drive from Whitehorse. The mine could be operational in 2008.

In a very practical sense, this project provides a test run for the new Mining Policy. TRTFN and Adanac are already working closely together to ensure the operation minimizes land and aquatic impacts in TRT territory, and those of its neighbors in B.C., Yukon and Alaska.

According to Jack, the Vancouver-based proponent has shown a good measure of commitment to sustainability and respect for TRTFN rights, title, communities and way of life.

Jack is confident Ruby Creek will become a model of how mining can take place in a way that brings benefits to a First Nation, without undermining long-term sustainability or the TRTFN's land-based economy.

For more information, to request an interview with Sandra Jack or request a copy of the New Mining Policy, contact Alex Rose.

Contact Information

  • Taku River Tlingit First Nation
    Alex Rose
    (604) 926-1641
    Email: agrose@shaw.ca