Open-pit coal mine halted by the Tahltan Nation, as company backs off for now

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by Steve da Silva – Produced for TwoRowTimes.com & BASICS Community News Service

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The source of the ‘Sacred Headwaters’ of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine River, from a group by the same name that is opposing projects by Dutch Royal Shell and Fortune Minerals that would ruin the headwaters.

Fortune Minerals Ltd. issued a press release on September 23, stating that it has taken the “voluntary steps to peacefully resolve the Arctos Project disturbance.”  In their own words, the company has faced “disruptive and damaging protests,” but indicated that they are “100% committed to developing the project.”

The decision came a week after various ministers of the BC government issued a joint statement, where they announced the appointment of a mediator who would “facilitate dialogue between the Tahltan First Nations and Fortune Minerals in an effort to allow the Arctos project to proceed.”

The six-week long blockade of the site began in mid-August by the ‘Klabona Keepers’, who have been resisting Fortune Minerals projects since 2005 (see previous coverage in Two Row Times). The blockade culminated last week with the eviction of mine workers by the Tahltan Central Council.

The project would remove most of Mount Klappan in northwestern B.C. and replace it with a 4,000 hectare open-pit mine, as well threatening to irreparably damage the sacred headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Spatsizi rivers and destroy traditional hunting grounds. The project would operate for 25 years, and consist of a new rail line to Prince Rupert to ship three millions tonnes of anthracite coal to Asia each year.

 

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