Skeena Resources Ltd. [SKE-TSX; SKE-NASDAQ] welcomes the historic consent-based decision-making agreement reached by British Columbia and the Tahltan central government. Through this agreement, the proposed 100%-owned Eskay Creek gold-silver project, located in Tahltan territory in northwestern British Columbia, will be the first mining project to have permits authorized by an Indigenous government.
As a formal recognition of the Tahltan Nation” right to manage resource development decisions within its territory, it is a significant step forward by all parties to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the environmental assessment process.
This historic agreement changes the approach to environmental assessments on the Tahltan Nation’s land by introducing a framework that ensures Tahltan values and rights are respected from the outset. Additionally, the agreement will also make possible the development of a new model for sustainable mining and world-class environmental practices and standards and lead to unprecedented business certainty of indigenous consent for a mining project.
Skeena sees this agreement as a historic step toward recognizing the rights and title of first nations in British Columbia and a major benefit for Eskay Creek. The agreement provides greater certainty and framework for the environmental assessment of the revitalization of the past-producing Eskay Creek mine. Obtaining legal consent from the Tahltan Nation on the authorization issued by British Columbia, an integral part of Skeena’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategy, addresses the question of project authorization on unceded indigenous land. It will further strengthen Skeena’s relationship with the Tahltan Nation and the nation’s support for the project.
Justin Himmelright, Skeena’s senior vice-president of external affairs and sustainability, commented: “As an already developed mine site with existing road access, waste management facilities, nearby access to green power and robust economics, gaining consent from the Tahltan Nation on whose unceded land Eskay Creek is located is a crucial step in an efficient approval process for the project. It also provides certainty of the Tahltan Nation’s legal authorization to revitalize Eskay Creek. We look forward to working with our Tahltan partners and the governments of British Columbia and Canada to bring this iconic project back into production.”
“Today marks an exciting step forward in the evolution of the relationship between the Tahltan Nation and the province of British Columbia,” said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan central government. “Reconciliation is not achieved with just one step. It requires ongoing innovation, collaboration and leaning into discomfort. For the Tahltan people, strengthening and preserving our culture, values and independence is why we keep pushing forward on this journey. The Tahltan central government has been clear on behalf of all Tahltan people that there will be no world-class mining jurisdiction in Tahltan territory without robust Tahltan stewardship which must include world-class wildlife and fisheries management, strong environmental mitigation measures, and recognition of our 1910 Declaration. The Tahltan Nation and the province have a long journey ahead walking and living on the path to reconciliation and we look forward to building on our relationship together. I thank all of those who have worked on this historic agreement which better recognizes Tahltan jurisdiction over our homelands. It has been generations in the making. Meduh.”
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, commented: “This agreement is the first consent-based agreement for decision-making ever to be negotiated under the Declaration Act. It is a tangible example of the province’s commitment to changing our relationship with indigenous peoples. Together, the Tahltan central government and the province are leading the way toward a new model for advancing free, prior and informed consent.”
Skeena Resources is focused on revitalizing the past-producing Eskay Creek gold-silver mine located in Tahltan territory in the Golden Triangle of northwestern BC.