B.C. mineral tenure regime does not respect duty to consult, First Nations argue in challenge – by Ian Burns (Lawyers Daily – January 20, 2023)


British Columbia’s “free entry” mineral tenure regime, which has been largely unchanged for decades and is sometimes described as a Gold Rush-era relic, will soon be before a court due to challenges by two First Nations who say it has an adverse effect on their rights.

Under the provincial Mineral Tenure Act, there is an automatic registration system where a person known as a “free miner” can acquire a mineral claim on the Internet, select cells on a map and pay a fee of $1.75 per hectare to obtain a claim, with no notice required to the people whose land the miner stakes.

Once that claim is obtained, the miner is legally entitled to enter the land and do some preliminary mining such as trenching or digging holes, as well as taking bulk samples of no more than 1,000 tonnes.

But the Gitxaala and Ehattesahet First Nations are both saying the ability to stake claims without consultation does not respect the Crown’s “duty to consult.” Lisa Glowacki of Ratcliff LLP, who represents Ehattesahet, said her clients have been concerned about mineral tenure and mining in their territory for many years because it affects their decision-making ability on land use.

For the rest of this article: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/42964/b-c-mineral-tenure-regime-does-not-respect-duty-to-consult-first-nations-argue-in-challenge?category=news