(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – May 14, 2020) – The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) congratulates Tsilhqot’in Nation as the Supreme Court of Canada today dismissed Taseko Mining Ltd.’s (TML) application for leave to appeal previous judicial decisions that ruled against their ongoing plan to build the New Prosperity mine. The proposed open pit gold and copper mine would have had significant environmental, cultural and spiritual impacts to the waterways and communities located in the Chilcotin region. Last year the company pushed to conduct extensive explorations while the Tsilhqot’in Nation were adamant that Taseko equipment would not be allowed into their territory.
“This decision by the highest court in Canada sends a clear and final message to Taseko Mines that First Nation’s laws, concerns and decisions about proposed activities and developments on their territories must be taken seriously and respected,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “First Nations are committed to the protection of water, forests and their sacred cultural and environmental sites for future generations. Significantly damaging or destroying them would be a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are foundational principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
For decades the Tsilhqot’in Nation legally fought TML to ensure their Indigenous rights were respected, resulting in Canada’s first declaration of land title by the Supreme Court in 2014. At this time Bill 41, the new law to uphold Indigenous rights in BC, is being implemented and laws and policies will be changed or created that will help to reduce these types of conflicts. The experience of TML has communicated change and adaption to the industry and new ethical standards and principles have been adopted by some companies as they approach BC First Nations with proposals for development and resource extraction projects on their traditional territories.