Nisga’a in talks for mine money

Nisga'a gov't is in talks with the province for a share of the mineral taxes to come from Avanti’s planned $1 billion moly mine at Kitsault

The Nisga’a Lisims Government is in talks with the province for a share of the mineral taxes to come from Avanti Mining’s planned $1 billion molybdenum mine at Kitsault on the north coast.

The talks follow similar agreements struck between the province and First Nations elsewhere in the province where mineral developments are located within traditional territories.

Although the Kitsault project is not within Nisga’a lands set out in the Nisga’a Final Agreement it is within the area where the Nisga’a have an influence on development and where they have fishing rights.

There’s no indication of how advanced the talks are or of their specific details.

“The province is in the process of actively negotiating an [Economic Community Development Agreement] on Kitsault with the Nisga’a and looks forward to concluding the ECDA in the near future,” indicates a statement from the provincial aboriginal affairs and reconciliation ministry.

The provincial policy of providing a portion of mineral tax revenues to First Nations dates back to 2008 with the goal that monies provided by use to finance health, education and other programs.

In the north, the first such agreement was signed in the fall of 2010 with the Fort McLeod Band to provide it with mineral tax monies from the Mount Milligan copper and gold mine between  Fort St. James and Mackenzie which opened last fall.

Based on the agreement, the Fort McLeod Band could receive between $34 million and $38 million over the projected 23-year life of the mine.

Also about to start are talks between the Nisga’a and Avanti itself for the latter to provide a share of revenues from the project.

Commonly called impact benefits agreements, they can take the form of direct payments, contracts with First Nations companies, other financial assistance and even a share of the project itself.

Avanti president Gordon Bogden, in the area last week for a series of meetings, said the company was about to sign a confidentiality agreement with the Nisga’a in advance of the negotiations.

“We’re looking at them as partners – shared benefits – as we move forward,” he said. Citing the confidentiality aspect of striking what he referred to as a commercial arrangement, Bogden declined to provide further details.

“We are very engaged, with the community [in the Nass Valley] and with the four [Nisga’a] villages,” he said.

Nisga’a officials last week declined comment. But they have in the past said they’d pursue revenue sharing with the provincial government.

Negotiations between the Nisga’a and the province and, soon, Avanti, follow legal moves taken by the Nisga’a opposing provincial environmental approval last spring of the mine project.

In advance of provincial approval, the Nisga’a filed an objection to the project by using a section of the 2000 Nisga’a final land claims agreement.

The Nisga’a said environmental and social economic studies were either inadequate or incomplete. Based on those assertions, the Nisga’a enacted provisions of the final agreement which set in motion discussions meant to resolve disputes between parties.

But they also followed up that up by filing a petition the end of July 2013 asking the B.C. Supreme Court to order the suspension of the provincial environmental certificate until the dispute resolution process had been completed.

“British Columbia has acted other than in accordance with the honour of the Crown in issuing the [environmental] decision and [environmental] certificate, in undue and deliberate haste, five days after receiving the Notice of Disagreement delivered by the Nisga’a Nation triggering the dispute resolution process ….,” the petition stated.

The application was to be heard last September but it has now been adjourned.

“The Nisga’a injunction application of September 23, 2013 was adjourned and negotiations with the Nisga’a are continuing,” said a statement late last week from the province. No further details were provided.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

COLUMN | New year, new you: Make those changes stick

Wellness Matters by columnist Joelle McKiernan

Pilot project thins out overgrown forest location

Immediate and long term logging and environmental benefits eyed

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read