Tahltan Central Government, B.C. make history under Declaration Act (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Ombrielle Neria

Tahltan Central Government
604 316-0478

Lindsay Byers

Press Secretary
Office of the Premier

Art Aronson

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 893-2028

David Karn

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
250 213-3760


History in the making

The Tahltan Central Government and the Province of British Columbia announced the start of the negotiations for the Tahltan Declaration Act Consent Agreement, including fulsome partner and stakeholder engagement, in June 2021. The negotiations focused on consent-based decision-making related to the environmental assessment for the proposed Eskay Creek Mine Revitalization Project in Tahltan Territory.

The Tahltan Central Government is the central governing body of the Tahltan Nation and represents the Nation on matters relating to inherent Tahltan Aboriginal title and rights. Tahltan Territory has the richest mineral potential in B.C., including the “Golden Triangle,” where private-sector investment has been and continues to be significant.

The proposed mine at Eskay Creek is on Tahltan Territory, located approximately 85 kilometres northwest of Stewart. The original mine was a high-grade underground gold and silver mine that closed in 2008. The mine was acquired in 2020 by Skeena Resources Limited., a B.C.-based exploration and development company. Skeena Resources proposes to construct and operate a high-grade, open-pit gold and silver mine. If Tahltan and the Province approve the Eskay Creek project, Skeena Resources expects the mine to be in operations for 9.8 years, employing more than 700 people and generating $733 million in direct benefit to B.C. through mineral and income taxes.

The consent agreement sets out how the Tahltan Central Government and Province of British Columbia will be accountable and transparent throughout the environmental assessment process for the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project, how the two governments will work together to support their respective decisions and includes provisions for dispute resolution.

The negotiations and the agreement are in keeping with several specific articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including:

  • Articles 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 recognize Tahltan’s right to full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights including equality and self-determination by utilizing Tahltan values, culture, law, policies, processes and decision-making bodies as they exercise their rights as a Nation.
  • Article 18 by honouring Tahltan’s right to participate in decisions that affect them through their own representative institutions, the Tahltan Central Government.
  • Articles 19 and 32(1), which honour the consent of Indigenous Peoples in decisions that affect them including free, prior and informed consent.
  • Article 31, which speaks to the right of Indigenous Peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their traditional knowledge, by incorporating Tahltan traditional knowledge and manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures as part of the assessment process, respecting Tahltan rights that shall be recognized and protected.

The Province and Tahltan Nation have a history of partnerships, including the Klappan Plan, an interim land-use agreement signed in 2019 that has the Nation and B.C. government working together in new ways to protect and manage the Sacred Headwaters, while respecting the Nation’s rights in the Klappan Valley.