New government-to-government and mineral tax revenue-sharing agreements provide for economic benefits and collaboration opportunities for First Nations in northern B.C., related to the proposed Kemess Underground mine.
Tsay Keh Dene Nation, Takla Lake First Nation and Kwadacha Nation, collectively known as Tse Keh Nay, and the Province, have signed respective Economic and Community Development Agreements.
These agreements will provide the First Nations a share of mineral tax revenues from the mine after it begins production, and a commitment for ongoing collaboration and engagement on the long-term permitting requirements and operation of the mine.
The Province and Tse Keh Nay have also committed to work together through a government-to-government agreement to help address other Tse Keh Nay interests related to the proposed Kemess Underground mine, including collaborating on potential land management measures for culturally important areas near the mine; helping to identify training programs to help prepare Tse Keh Nay members for jobs at the mine; and involving the Tse Keh Nay in the safety, management and monitoring of the access road to the mine site.
These agreements build on the successful collaboration between Tse Keh Nay and the Environmental Assessment Office, which jointly drafted the Aboriginal section of the Assessment Report for the Kemess project as part of the environmental assessment process, and came to general agreement on the conditions in the environmental assessment certificate issued to AuRico Metals Ltd. on March 13, 2017.
This partnership reflects the Province’s commitment to ensuring First Nations benefit from resource development in their traditional territories, and have opportunities for meaningful input into how projects are planned, developed and operated.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Our agreements and collaboration with Tse Keh Nay underscore B.C.’s commitment to find innovative ways to partner with First Nations on economic development. These partnerships create better projects, ensure First Nations benefit from development in their traditional territories and helps provide industry the confidence to invest and create jobs.”
Chief John French, Takla Lake First Nation –
“For Takla, this is about translating our Title and Rights into: (1) strength among Tsay Keh Nay Nations; (2) good First Nation-Crown governance and (3) getting our share of the wealth from resource development in our Territories. We will use these agreements as incremental and empowering step to further our prosperous Nation.”
Chief Donny Van Somer, Kwadacha Nation –
“We are pleased that we have reached an agreement with the Province of British Columbia to share in the mineral tax benefits from the Kemess Underground Project. It is important that we continue to work on a government-to-government basis with respect to any proposed developments in lands that our people have traditionally occupied and used since time immemorial."
- The Kemess Underground project is a proposed underground copper-gold mine located approximately 250 kilometres north of Smithers, and 430 kilometres northwest of Prince George in the Peace River Regional District.
- B.C. issued an environmental assessment certificate to AuRico Metals Inc. for the Kemess Underground project on March 15, 2017.
- After a five-year development phase, the $683.9-million project is expected to produce approximately 24,650 tonnes of ore per day over a 13-year period.
- Kemess Underground is approximately six kilometres north of the existing infrastructure from the Kemess South mine that operated from 1998-2011.
- Including agreements with the Tsay Keh Dene Nation, Takla Lake First Nation and Kwadacha Nation, B.C. has 27 mineral revenue sharing agreements with 43 First Nations.
- More than $26 million in mineral tax revenue from mining has been shared with First Nations since 2013.
Provincial agreements with Tsay Keh Dene: http://ow.ly/sb7g30axa0a
Provincial agreements with Takla Lake: http://ow.ly/DMhm30axael
Provincial agreements with Kwadacha: http://ow.ly/TX8j30axaiy
Kemess Underground Project granted environmental assessment approval: news.gov.bc.ca/14201
Environmental Assessment Office Kemess Underground project information: projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/kemess-underground/detail