First Nation fights Atlin area mine

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation is opposing the Tulsequah Chief mine project near Atlin, B.C.

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation is opposing the Tulsequah Chief mine project near Atlin, B.C.

The First Nation is upset that Chieftain Metals has not reopened its water treatment plant, which was shuttered in late June because the company didn’t have enough money to run it.

This is the first time the First Nation has taken a public stand on the mine project. It has long been in talks with the company to negotiate a deal that would have seen the First Nation enjoy a share of the jobs and other benefits from the mine opening.

The First Nation pulled its technical teams from company review processes in July, a release states.

The First Nation “is not in support of the proposed Tulsequah Chief project proceeding with government approval in the absence of a fully operational water treatment plant and updated feasibility study,” its Sept. 10 release says.

“As a result, TRTFN government has suspended its assessment processes and consideration of any project approvals.”

The company has not said when it will open the plant again. Instead, the company issued a release several days after the First Nation’s announcement, asserting that it was closer to having the amended road route to the mine site approved.

The proposed 122-kilometre road would run from the mine site to the lower Nakonake River. From there, it would branch off the approved route to a junction with Atlin’s Warm Bay Road.

This reduces stream crossings, avoids sensitive caribou habitat and reduces any contact with the First Nation’s heritage trail, the company’s Sept. 13 release says.

Chieftain applied to change the road route in April. It expects a final decision from the B.C. government in the next few weeks, the release says.

Neither the company nor the First Nation were available for comment before deadline.

(Meagan Gillmore)

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