Biggest problem for mining is public trust: Weaver – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – January 31, 2017)

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Native group stakes mineral claim on mines minister’s land, but can they go drilling?

Last week, in an effort to show how easy it is for someone to stake a mineral claim in B.C., Bev Sellars, chairwoman of B.C.’s First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining, filed a mineral claim on land owned by Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett.

It was timed for last week’s Association for Mineral Exploration BC’s Roundup 2017 conference. Sellars said it cost only $104.89 to stake the claim, and it was done without Bennett’s knowledge.

Her point was to highlight that mineral claims are often filed on land claimed by First Nations without their knowledge. But there’s a reason for that, Bennett said during a January 25 panel discussion on government policies that included BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and NDP energy and mines critic Doug Donaldson.

“I don’t think you want to go out and tell the world, ‘You know, I’m thinking about staking a claim over there, so I’m going to go out and talk to people and see whether it’s OK,’” Bennett said. “Maybe somebody else is going to stake the claim before you do.”

Filing a claim is one thing, but getting permission to do exploration work, like drilling, involves a fair amount of bureaucracy and consultation. Developing it into a mine typically takes a decade.

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