Nuxalk Hereditary Chiefs have issued a letter outlining their staunch opposition to reports of gold prospecting in the Bella Coola area.
The letter, dated January 18, is addressed to Roger Rosmus, CEO of Goliath Resources Ltd., the company who is heading up the prospecting and exploration.
In the letter, Head Nuxalk Hereditary Chief Noel Pootlass writes that “We, the Nuxalk Stataltmc (Chiefs) have declared that there will be no mining, no mineral exploration and no clear-cut or old-growth logging in Nuxalk territory…”
The letter goes on to state that “You are in violation of Nuxalk Law and must stop all activity and return any samples you have taken.”
The Toronto-based mining company Goliath Resources Ltd. confirmed it is prospecting for gold in several areas near Bella Coola. The company calls the area “The Big Show Zone” and it’s located on their “Gold Standard Property” four kilometres north of Bella Coola.
Goliath states that “the Gold Standard property is 100 percent owned by the DSM Syndicate, of which Goliath Resources Limited owns a 10 percent interest.”
The prospecting is taking place under what is known as “free entry,” a law that many consider to be heavily in favour of industry.
Nuxalk/Secwepemc woman Jacinda Mack is a spokesperson for First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) and the co-founder of its current Stand for Water campaign.
She says that provincial mining laws are in desperate need of reform, and that the exploration currently taking place in Nuxalk territory is a perfect example of why.
“‘Free-entry” essentially privileges mining laws over basically any other law,” said Mack. “Companies can just pick up a mineral licence without any conversation or relationship with anybody. Zero consultation.”
Goliath has not yet responded publicly to the letter.