Tahltan territory, BC – The Tahltan Central Council (TCC) has today welcomed news that theProvince (through British Columbia Railway Company*) has purchased 61 coal licenses in the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters to stop development in the area.
Buying the licenses from Fortune Minerals and Posco Canada halts major development in the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters. The Tahltan Central Council and Province will be working on a long-term plan and agreement for the Klappan.
“Thank you to everyone that has so strongly supported the protection of the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters for so many years,” said TCC president Chad Day. “This latest news gives us years – rather than weeks or months – to develop a sustainable long-term management plan and agreement for an area that is so important to Tahltan people and others across the world.”
He added: “Using our government-to-government relationship with the Province, we can now work with our people to make sure the Klappan is properly managed and protected for our children and our children’s children.
“Members may still see a small amount of activity in the area as Fortune Minerals finishes restoration work from previous exploration activity.”
The Klappan is a critically important area of Tahltan territory that needs long-term management and protection to preserve cultural and ecological values for Tahltan people. Mount Klappan, which is part of an area known as the Sacred Headwaters, is a traditional hunting ground and has significant cultural value. It also feeds three of BC’s major salmon-bearing rivers – the Skeena, Stikine and Nass.
Despite the Tahltan Nation’s opposition, the Klappan has always been a target for major resource development projects because of its large anthracite coal deposits. In 2012 Shell relinquished its coal bed methane rights in the Klappan following strong opposition.
The Tahltan Central Council supports appropriate and responsible development in Tahltan territory. In late 2014, it announced investment into AltaGas’ Volcano Creek renewable energy project. In April 2015, the Tahltan Nation voted to accept an agreement with the Red Chris copper and gold mine.
The Tahltan Central Council is the Tahltan Nation’s governing body representing the collective Aboriginal title and rights for all Tahltan people. This includes members of the Tahltan and Iskut Bands.
Iskut Band Chief Marie Quock said: “I’d like to thank our Elders and all the people that stood up for our land. This is a powerful example of what can happen when our Nation works together. I would also like to thank the province for working with us on this initiative.”
*British Columbia Railway Company, which has the ability to acquire coal mines and land in connection with them under the BC Railway Act, is using its cash reserves to acquire the licenses as agent of the Province, allowing the transaction to take place with no impact to the government’s current fiscal plan.