The Tahltan Nation has accepted a Co-Management Agreement with the Red Chris Mine which began operations in their territory earlier this year.
A news release from the Tahltan Central Council says that of those that voted, 86.9% or 430 people cast ballots in favour of the deal, while 12.9% or 64 people voted against it. There was one rejected referendum ballot.
The TCC calls it a unique agreement which will provide local jobs, training, revenue sharing, and ensures oversight and control of environmental issues surrounding the Imperial Metals open pit gold and copper mine near Iskut.
“This is a big step for our people, for all First Nations and for all British Columbians,” said Tahltan Central Council President Chad Day on the referendum results. “Tahltan people have been living on our land for more than 10,000 years, so it makes sense for us to be involved in making sure our lands, waters and wildlife are protected for everyone without affecting our Title and Rights.”
One of the environmental worries expressed by some Tahltan members was the design of the mine’s tailings pond after the disaster at the Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley Mine near Likely. A third-party review of the Red Chris facility was conducted following a blockade of the mine site by a group of Tahltan elders.
Imperial, which has been increasing activity at Red Chris, hopes to have a permanent permit to commence full operations at the mine, including the tailings facility.
Implementation of the agreement will be the subject of discussions at the Tahltan Annual General Assembly in July.