Tahltan end blockade of Red Chris Mine

Tahtlan, members of Secwepemc delegation and comrades from Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp blockade Red Chris Mine site, Sept 29, 2014.

Tahtlan, members of Secwepemc delegation and comrades from Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp blockade Red Chris Mine site, Sept 29, 2014.

Northwest B.C. mine blockade ends for now

Terrace Standard, Oct 15, 2014

A group of Tahltan and others who had been blocking access to the nearly-completed Red Chris copper mine owned by Imperial Metals have, for now, stopped their action.

The decision earlier this week followed the granting to Imperial Metals of an interim junction to stop the blockade and, as of Oct. 14, an enforcement order which could have resulted in the arrest of people at the blockade.

“When 15 of our elders were arrested in 2005 to protect the Tl’abane [Klappan area] it had huge impacts on our community. Although we were willing to make this sacrifice again, to protect our elders and children from this trauma, we’ve decided to not be arrested,” the Tahltan group known as the Klabona Keepers said in an Oct. 14 statement.

“Instead, we will fight the injunction in court and are calling on Imperial Metals and government to come meet with us to discuss the matter under our own jurisdiction.”

The statement was accompanied by a letter sent to a group of provincial politicians, including Premier Christy Clark, and Imperial officials, including president Pierre Lebel, for a meeting this week.

“This action does not affirm that industry can continue to use injunctions as a tool to marginalize the significance of their rights and title. This action is being taken to protect the elders, grandmothers, women and youth from RCMP action ordered by the provincial and federal system of government. The Tl’abanot’in [Klabona Keepers] have already been arrested as they stood on their land to protect it, but not today,” the Oct. 14 statement continued.

The blockade by the Klabona Keepers went up Sept. 29 and is assisted by environmental activists and by the Secwepemc First Nation whose traditional territory takes in the Mount Polley copper mine in the Cariboo.

That mine is also owned by Imperial Metals and when its tailings pond burst in August, the Red Chris tailings pond design then became a focal point for opposition to mining.

The Klabona Keepers set up a first blockade in August after the Mount Polley spill but it was taken down after the Tahltan Central Council and Imperial Metals reached an agreement for Imperial to pay for an independent review of the tailings pond by a company chosen by the central council, something which the Klabona Keepers first agreed to.

That review is ongoing.

At the same time, the province still has to issue a effluent discharge permit to Imperial before it is in any position to open the mine. Final power line work to the location still needs to be completed as well.


Posted on October 15, 2014, in Mining and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. With all respect to the Klabona Keepers and their community members … the complicated web of relationships, development needs, natural essentials and their management makes for a unique nexus of business, transparency, and natural stewardship.

    With the current mining and land issues in mind.. where sites have moved from paper to real operations — there remains every opportunity for the local stewards of the land and traditions to demand and integrate transparent information from the operations and operators. With regard to tailings and effluents from sites..there are instruments and tools available to monitor in great detail — while supporting community transparency and involvement in operational, event, environmental, and mine closing actions — threatening and hazardous effluent, discharges, and natural events. Information can be detailed and shared across the community and businesses.

    Being surprised by natural events and their mix with our man-made operations is the thinking and result of fearful, uninformed, and narrow-vision folks. It is not even an economic ?, as we see the losses involved in the “narrow” approach FAR exceed investment in instrumentation, education, and employment of local staff to manage and monitor the “living” site.

    • Not sure what you’re trying to say, but it’s pretty obvious that whatever tools are available to monitor tailings and effluents from industrial sites they are either not used or are ignored by those in power. In a sense few people are surprised by the ongoing environmental destruction we are witnessing, and it is not a result of fearful or uninformed people, but rather the resistance to these projects arises from people who are very aware of the consequences of industrial destruction.

  2. The Metzger post is full of obfuscation and thinly veiled ad hominem rhetoric. How’s this for a narrow vision: Keeping the Scared Headwaters entails shutting down the mine.

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