First Nations, enviros get a voice in court

First Nations and environmentalists won a major hurdle last week in their legal battle against a mining company near Carmacks.

First Nations and environmentalists won a major hurdle last week in their legal battle against a mining company near Carmacks.

The Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, the Selkirk First Nation and the Yukon Conservation Society can be designated as respondents in an appeal case over Western Copper’s Carmacks Copper mine.

Western Copper wants to build a copper mine, but was rebuffed by the Yukon Water Board when it tried to get a water licence.

The board felt the company didn’t provide enough research on acid heap leaching, the process Western Copper wants to use to extract copper from the ore.

Western Copper appealed the decision and the case is currently being shepherded through court.

Officially, the case pits Western Copper against the water board.

But there was a procedural debate about what role the First Nations and the Yukon Conservation Society would play.

They could have been designated as interveners, which would have given them the right to file affidavits, but limited their participation in the courts.

But on October 21, Justice Ron Veale granted them respondent status, which makes them full parties to the case.(James Munson)

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