First Nations, gov’t sign Kemess mine deal – by Frank Peebles (Prince George Citizen – April 6, 2017)

A major hurdle to a major gold mine was cleared on Thursday – in fact three hurdles. The Tsay Keh Dene, Takla Lake and Kwadacha First Nations all announced their support for the Kemess Underground Mine and a revenue deal with the provincial government to prove it.

As municipalities collect annual income from industrial activities within their town borders, these three First Nations will receive regular income from this proposed mine. It was considered one of the final obstacles to getting the Kemess project to the starting line.

The three, who share the unceded traditional territory on which the mine would be built, worked together under the collective title of Tse Keh Nay during negotiations with the provincial government.

“Our agreements and collaboration with Tse Keh Nay underscore B.C.’s commitment to find innovative ways to partner with First Nations on economic development,” said John Rustad, the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for the province.

“These partnerships create better projects, ensure First Nations benefit from development in their traditional territories and helps provide industry the confidence to invest and create jobs.”

The mine was initially blocked by the Tse Keh Nay when an open pit design was presented by the mining company of the day. The environmental impacts of that proposal were such that the aboriginal users of the land refused to allow it to go ahead.

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