Tahltan First Nation tells Fortune Minerals to leave their traditional territory
Members of Tahltan First Nations have taken a stand against a proposed coal mining project by Fortune Minerals on Mount Klappan. They’ve told company representatives to leave their traditional lands.
Although the Tahltan aren’t expecting that to happen by the 24-hour-deadline they gave the company yesterday, they say they aren’t backing down.
Members of the First Nation were hunting near the site where Fortune Minerals currently has set up a small camp. The hunters say the helicopter was scaring away animals for the food hunt, and that’s when the Tahltan decided that they finally had enough.
If the Arctos Anthracite mine project that Fortune Minerals is planning goes through, protesters say it will be built on traditional lands that include Tahltan burial grounds.
So they marched to the camp and told Fortune Minerals to leave the area.
The Talhtan Band council has unanimously agreed that they want Mount Klappan to become a permanently protected area.
“This is the headwaters of three major salmon bearing rivers, and our people they use that area. They use that area now and … our ancestors used that area,” said Annita Mcphee, the president of the Tahltan Central Council. “Our people came together and said there’s some places in our territory that we want to see developed, and there’s some places we want to see protected. The Klappan is one of them.”
In response to the protesting, Fortune Minerals has clarified that the project is currently still in a BC Environmental Assessment stage and that they’re ready to listen to all the concerns.
“We’re sending senior personal to sites to provide any opportunity for dialogue for those protesters, and just clear communications between the groups, so that’s taking place right now,” said Troy Nazarewicz, the investor relations manager from Fortune Minerals.
Nazarewicz stressed that they’re not working on the mine project yet, just evaluating the options for the area if the project does go through.
“So that program is being conducted basically to conduct scientific information to be used in the permitting process, and ultimately to allow the regulators and communities to make a decision on the project,” said Nazarewicz.
Nararewicz also said that they want to make sure local communities and workers will benefit from the project, and that includes making sure Aboriginal groups are consulted and that the environment is protected.