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Tailings pond fallout fuels anti-mining sentiment – Business in Vancouver

More bands challenging expansion plans for B.C.’s top employer of aboriginal workers

Even before the collapse of a tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine earlier this month, relations between mining companies and First Nations in B.C. were often strained.

The Taku River Tlingit, for example, are opposed to the Tulsequah mine near Atlin. The mine suffered a setback last month when the BC Supreme Court ruled the B.C. government had breached its duty to consult the First Nation when it extended a mines permit.

Anti-mining sentiment has been growing within some First Nations communities in the wake of the August 4 Mount Polley disaster. Imperial Metals (TSX:III), which owns the mine, has taken the brunt of it.

Two weeks ago, the Neskonlith Indian Band issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals, saying it doesn’t want the company doing any more work on its Ruddock Creek property north of Adams Lake, where Imperial plans to build an underground zinc-lead mine. And while the Tahltan First Nation is officially still talking with Imperial about an economic benefits agreement on the new Red Chris mine, a handful of Tahltan elders and activists called the Klabona Keepers have blockaded access to Imperial’s new flagship property. They have even launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help finance the blockade.

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