Nak’azdli Whut’en: intervening to reform BC mining

Case: Gitxaala/Ehattesaht
Firm:  Arvay Finlay
Outcome: hearing held at BC Supreme Court in December 2022.
Awaiting ruling 

The Mineral Tenure Act and subsequent action under the Mines Act have severely impacted Nak’azdli’s ability to exercise its Aboriginal rights and title. Therefore, a precedent-setting decision in this case will directly benefit Nak’azdli.

 Specifically, Nak’azdli fought against the unilateral imposition of the Mount Milligan mine in Nak’azdli Territory in 2010. The mine started with the registration of mineral claims, as all mines do, without the consent of Nak’azdli. Once the mining company had the mineral claim rights, this resulted in a domino effect that led to the mine being built without Nak’azdli’s consent. Not only were the initial claims registered without consent, but the subsequent consultation by government was entirely inadequate. The Crown’s process failed to fully account for the mine’s health, social and cultural impacts, which were only documented by the Nation after the mine was built.  Naka’adzli’s rights and title were not respected.

Given Nak’azdli’s unique struggles with mining described above, starting with the unilateral registration of mineral claims, Nak’azdli can provide the court with a novel perspective on the impacts of the mineral grant regime on its distinct governance structure, thereby providing the court with a fuller understanding of the extent of the impacts of the mineral grant regime.

 Arvay Finlay, and who are making their own Raven application. In addition, the Ts’kw’aylaxw and Nuxalk have signaled their intention to apply for intervenor status through their counsel Karim Ramji (karimramji@shaw.ca). A strategy for intervention is being coordinated through counsel for the petitioners.

 This is assisting the relevance of reconciliation through the DRIPA legislation here in BC, because of this it is also helping our Gitxaala and Heiltsuk campaigns.

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