The Tŝilhqot’in Nation has managed to temporarily prevent major mining exploration in a culturally significant area of its territory.
The BC Court of Appeal has granted an injunction against a drilling permit for Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake) and surrounding areas.
A court ruling last month upheld the permit authoring Taseko Mines Limited to build 76 kilometres of new or modified road and trail, 122 drill holes, 367 excavated test pit,s and 20 kilometres of seismic lines.
Monday’s injunction prevents the drilling program from proceeding until the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s appeal of the permit has been decided at the BC Court of Appeal.
“We continually have to go to court to protect our cultural and spiritual sites,” said Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, Tŝilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chairman. “These areas should be off the table for any kind of invasive development. While this injunction grants a temporary relief from extensive drilling and exploration work, we are still calling on the BC Government to step in and put a full stop to this drilling permit. BC has options available to them to protect cultural sites like these. Both the Prosperity and New Prosperity projects have been rejected by the Federal government. To think that anything can proceed on this site is absolutely illogical.”
Taseko, after its permit was upheld, said it hoped 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.