The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is in court this week trying to protect a sacred part of its territory from a massive mine drilling program.
Earlier this year, the BC Supreme Court upheld a permit authorizing Taseko Mines to undertake an extensive drilling program at Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake) and the surrounding area.
The word would include 76 kilometres of new or modified road and trail, 122 drill holes, 367 excavated test pits and 20 kilometres of seismic lines.
Taseko has said the exploration work would provide the additional scientific evidence needed to satisfy elements of the federal government’s 2014 decision to reject the mine proposal.
“In the wake of the exoneration of our Tŝilhqot’in War Chiefs of 1864 and the visit by Prime Minister Trudeau to our Tŝilhqot’in Title land, we still continue to fight for what is right,” says Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Jimmy Lulua, Chief of Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government. “What is at stake with the court hearings this week is more than a drilling permit for our sacred lands and gathering spaces – what is at stake is the ability of the courts and government to do the right thing when faced with a direct threat to indigenous ways of life and our basic needs.”
The Tŝilhqot’in received a temporary injunction to stop the work in September until their case is heard at the BC Court of Appeal.
Hearings are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.