First Nations challenge B.C. mineral claim regime in court – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver- December 15, 2022)

Requiring notification on claims would have big impact on exploration: AME

The principal of free, prior and informed consent embedded in UNDRIP must apply to mineral claims in B.C., First Nations will argue in court – something that has the mining and exploration industry in B.C. worried.

First Nations, environmental groups and mining and exploration industry associations are in court today seeking intervenor status in a case that could have wide-ranging implications for mineral exploration in B.C., as well as the federal government’s critical minerals strategy, should the case succeed.

At the heart of the case is the free entry mineral claim system that allows anyone to file a mineral claim without notifying or engaging with First Nations – something First Nations speaking at a press conference Thursday said breaches the spirit of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) on which it is based.

Last year, the Gitxaala First Nation filed a judicial review over mineral claims in its traditional territory on Banks Island. In June this year, the Ehattesaht First Nation also filed a similar judicial review challenging mineral claims in their traditional territory. The two First Nations have agreed to have both reviews tried at the same time.

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