Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kitsault mining assessment certificate spurs Nisga'a to court action

Calling the move a breach of the Nisga'a Final Agreement, Nisga'a Nation officials have launched a court action to express their concerns over a decision to approve an environmental assessment certificate for the re-development of a molybdenum mine in the Northwest.

The Nisga'a Nation started a mandatory dispute proceeding under its treaty back in March, only to see the provincial government grant a conditional environmental assessment certificate for Avanti Mining five days later on March 19th.

The Nisga'a say that they aren't necessarily opposed to the reopening of the mine, but more with the granting of the assessment certificate, which they say goes against the terms of the Nisga'a Final Agreement.

In a press release from August 1st, the Nisga'a Nation outlined their concerns over the proposed project and how the province's actions trigger treaty obligations. Reminding the province that it is obligated to give the Nisga'a timely notice, as well as participation, in any environmental assessment under provincial and federal laws.

In their court action, the Nisga'a Government is "asking the court to set aside the environmental assessement certificate, so that British Columbia will be able to engage in a a meaningful dispute resolution process with the Nisga'a Nation."

An article in Maclean's magazine on Saturday, outlined some of the provincial government's position on the legal move by the Nisga'a, stating that the "Provincial Government takes the treaty very seriously and that consultation was a central aspect of the environmental assessment."

With the Provincial approval in hand from March, Avanti Mining is now waiting for the results of their federal environmental assessment to be released.

Avanti which is opposing the Judicial Review application, called the decision by the Nisga'a as disappointing, but expressed confidence that the Environmental Assessment process thoroughly addressed environmental and human health issues.

They stated that they are confident that all legal requirements, including those of the Nisga'a treaty had been addressed.

A theme that the Nisga'a Nation apparently doesn't quite agree with, no timeline on the legal proceedings moving forward, was provided with the launch of their court action last week.

Some further background on the looming court discussions can be found below:

CFTK-- Nisga'a Begin Legal Proceedings Over Kitsault Mine Certificate
CFTK-- Nisga'a Kitsault Suit (video)
CFNR-- Avanti Inc. Responds to Nisga'a Petition on Kistault Mine
CTV News-- Nisga'a takes B. C. to court over plans to redevelop historic site
Vancouver Sun-- Nisga'a First Nation sues B. C. government over environmental assessment for proposed mine
The Province-- Nisga'a file suit against B. C. government over handling of Kitsault mine environmental assessment

The Kistault Mining proposal also is featured a number of times in our Mining Archives which you can review here.

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