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VANCOUVER – The British Columbia and federal governments should settle outstanding aboriginal land claims in the westernmost province to eliminate the uncertainty that prevents industry from investing, says a new report from the Fraser Institute.
The unsettled claims are a barrier to the mining industry in particular, said the report released Thursday by the right-wing think tank based in Vancouver.
It recommends an expedited treaty process to resolve the hundreds of overlapping claims, and a mechanism to resolve asserted rights and title for bands that are not participating in the existing treaty process.
“Mining companies often find themselves on the front lines of tensions between asserted aboriginal rights and title and the interpretation of such rights by the courts, as miners rely on having access to Crown land,” said the report, which points out that B.C. — with more than 200 of the 600 first nations in Canada — has very few treaties in place.