VANCOUVER – The Neskonlith Indian Band has released a statement saying they have issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals, the company that runs the Mount Polley Mine where the tailings pond breached more than a week ago.
Ruddock Creek Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Imperial Metals, is hoping to operate an underground zinc-lead mine approximately 100 km northwest of Revelstoke.
In the statement, Chief Judy Wilson says “Imperial Metals failed to properly protect Secwepemc land and waters and our traditional and current uses in our territory (Secwepemculecw)”. The Secwepemc is made up of 17 bands representing the Shuswap Nation.
Wilson says in the statement they are concerned about the long-term impacts on their lands if something like the tailings pond breach were to happen at the Ruddock Creek Mine.
“As the Yecwiminte r Tmicw, the caretakers of our land and waters, Neskonlith, part of the Lake Secwepemc People, have an obligation to protect our land for our future generations,” the statement reads. “Neskonlith Indian Band cannot permit any mining development especially in these Sacred Headwaters that will contaminate the water or destroy our salmon habitat.”
They say they have not signed any agreements with the province or Imperial Metals to give their consent for the Ruddock Creek Mine.
On Friday, First Nations members blocked access to workers at the Red Chris Mine, also developed and operated by Imperial Metals. Wilson says in the statement that if Imperial Metals does not comply with their eviction notice, they will also block access to the Ruddock Creek Mine.
Imperial Metals has responded to the concerns from the Shuswap Environment Committee, who have not been shy about speaking out against the Ruddock Creek Mine.
Vice president Steve Robertson says there shouldn’t be concern that a similar breach could happen at Ruddock Creek because the tailings will be stored in a different way.
Robertson goes on to say that the Mount Polley tailings breach happened in a man-made structure and no similar structure or dam will be built to impound tailings at Ruddock Creek.
– With files from Toby Tannas