Alaskan tribes seek historic legal recognition from B.C. gov’t for review of mining project – by Caitrin Pilkington (CBC News Canada North – February 07, 2024)

Coalition wants to be part of environmental review for Eskay Creek gold mine

An Alaska-based coalition of Indigenous governments has applied to be part of a B.C. environmental review process. Representatives of the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission say they’re concerned about the environmental impacts of a proposed project that would see work resume at Eskay Creek, a former open-pit gold mine. The mine, which mining company Skeena Resources hopes to revive, lies about 85 kilometres northwest of Stewart, B.C.

Skeena’s proposal would see workers make use of some of the old mine’s existing facilities, extracting up to three million tonnes of gold and silver ore per year. The proposed mine would be in operation for nine years.

If the Alaska coalition is successful, it would be the first time in history that U.S.-based tribes are granted the ability to participate this way in Canada.

The move would be possible thanks to a 2021 Supreme Court of Canada decision. The R. v. Desautel case determined Indigenous people in the U.S. or Greenland with traditional territories in Canada are entitled to some Canadian constitutional rights.

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