Demand for jade has sparked both a reality TV series set in the remote northwestern corner of British Columbia and opposition from an Indigenous nation over its lack of consent to jade mining in its territory.
The Tahltan Nation has strong ties to the mining and mineral exploration sector, but the extraction of nephrite jade is “a very problematic industry for us,” said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government.
B.C.’s consultation with the nation over jade mining permit applications has been “minimal,” Mr. Day said in an interview, and in recent years the nation has expressed opposition to new permits and the industry overall.
Abandoned machinery, shipping containers and jade boulders, cut open and discarded because they’re too low in quality, are scattered across areas where caribou roam and Tahltan people hunt and go snowmobiling, he said.
Mr. Day said he’s also concerned that unlike major mines, smaller-scale jade extraction doesn’t always require archeological assessment before work starts.
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