By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Tahltan, Skeena, BC create conservatory

Get in the same canoe to protect Tahltan Nation sacred lands North of 60 Mining News – April 9, 2021

 

Last updated 4/15/2021 at 3:10pm

Tahltan First Nation Skeena Resources British Columbia Canada Mount Edziza

Creative Commons 2.0

Obsidian from around Mount Edziza has been used by the Tahltan people for weaponry, tools, and trading for millennia.

The Tahltan Central Government, Skeena Resources Ltd., and British Columbia have come together to create a new conservancy to protect the environment and wildlife on Tahltan territory in northwestern B.C.

To create this 3,500-hectare (8,650 acres) conservancy, Skeena is returning the mineral tenures for its Spectrum copper-gold project that lies alongside the 230,000-hectare (568,300 acres) Mount Edziza Provincial Park.

"Through many open and respectful conversations with Tahltan leaders over the years, we have developed a sincere appreciation of the cultural importance of this area to Tahltan," said Skeena Resources President and CEO Walter Coles. "We are deeply committed to our partnership with the Tahltan Nation and are happy that we can play a role in protecting this area for future generations. This is reconciliation in action and symbolic of our partnership commitment to Tahltan."


The conservancy is the first step in the multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative, which aims to bring greater self-determination to the Tahltan Nation and support stewardship on Tahltan Territory. Tahltan Central Government plans to rename the area within the conservancy at a future date, to better reflect Tahltan heritage.

"Mount Edziza and the surrounding area has always been sacred to the Tahltan Nation. The obsidian from this portion of our territory provided us with weaponry, tools and trading goods that ensured our Tahltan people could thrive for thousands of years," said Tahltan Central Government President Chad Day. "Working alongside Skeena Resources, the Province, BC Parks Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to provide further protection to this area is an initiative we can all take pride in. I am so relieved and thrilled that Mount Edziza is better protected for our future generations."

The provincial government and Tahltan Central Government have been working together to advance their shared interests in building an enduring, resilient government-to-government relationship in respect of land and resource use, and community, social and economic development within the Tahltan Territory. While more work remains to be done to advance their shared interests, this agreement is an important step.


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"Protecting these lands will preserve the natural environment, help maintain biological diversity, and respect the history and importance of this area for the Tahltan Nation," said BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman. "Collaboration and shared understanding about stewardship of the lands and waters that sustain us is an important lesson delivered through true reconciliation."

The BC Parks Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, worked with Tahltan Central Government, Skeena, and the province to create the new conservancy.

"This is a triple win," said BC Parks Foundation CEO Andy Day. "Together, we're protecting a huge area for wildlife and nature, we're advancing reconciliation, and we're supporting sustainable recreation and use. Big up to the Tahltan, B.C., NCC, and Skeena for getting in the same canoe and paddling in the same direction – it's a great direction for BC."

Nancy Newhouse, the vice president of Nature Conservancy of Canada's BC region, called the permanent protection of the cultural and ecological values of the lands relinquished by Skeena a remarkable achievement.

"We congratulate the Tahltan Central Government on their leadership and vision in making this outcome a reality," she said. "The unique volcanic landforms, the habitat connectivity for wildlife, and the long history of human relationship to this land all make it an area well worth conserving."


Skeena Resources continues to advance Eskay Creek and Snip, to high-grade precious metals properties in the southern part of Tahltan Territory. Tahltan Central Government recently announced plans to invest C$5 million to acquire equity ownership of the gold and silver exploration and development company.

More information on Tahltan Central Government's investment in Skeena Resources can be read at Tahltan First Nation invests in Skeena in the April 1, 2021 edition of North of 60 Mining News.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 13 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

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