Josh Bunce cuts a jade boulder. The Bunces, stars of the Discovery Canada reality show “Jade Fever,” are one of the mining operations the Tahltan Nation are trying to shut down. (Ominfilm Entertainment photo)

Josh Bunce cuts a jade boulder. The Bunces, stars of the Discovery Canada reality show “Jade Fever,” are one of the mining operations the Tahltan Nation are trying to shut down. (Ominfilm Entertainment photo)

Tahltan demand shutdown of jade mining; removal of reality TV show from airwaves

President Chad Day says jade/placer industries not working for Tahltan or the province

As Jade Fever, a popular Discovery Canada reality TV series that follows the Bunces, a family of jade miners working in the Cassiar Mountains in Tahltan territory, enters its seventh season, the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) is trying to have it taken off the air.

“If a show is sensationalizing and encouraging and promoting an activity you believe is illegal and unethical and causing all kinds of environmental degradation, that’s why we want the show off the air,” said TCG president Chad Day.

Bell Media, the owner of Discovery, responded with a statement via email.

“Bell Media takes the Tahltan Nation’s concerns seriously and we are investigating further.”

But the real crux of the matter for the Tahltan Nation is the industry itself.

“These jade and placer gold operations have unacceptable impacts on the Tahltan Nation,” Day stated. “Our community members and staff have camera footage and several eye-witness accounts of illegal poaching of our wildlife and other serious environmental infractions, such as taking equipment through salmon-bearing waters, by these operators.”

READ MORE: Tahltan attempt to evict jade and placer miners

For years, the TCG has been fighting what they view as basically unregulated operations on their territory and are now willing to hold up other development if the province doesn’t act to shut down the industry.

“We, as Tahltans, will begin shutting down more activities and may stop supporting industrial projects until our title and rights and the environment are properly respected and protected,” Day said.

He declined to name individual projects, but said there are a number of them that are currently going through the impact-benefits process that could be affected.

“I personally won’t be signing off on any more impact-benefit agreements with industrial projects in our territory until our issues with jade mining, placer mining and wildlife are addressed,” he said.

In 2019, Day and other representatives of the TCG travelled by helicopter to serve eviction notices to miners, including the Bunce family. In 2020, B.C. put a moratorium on new permits in a “Placer Jade Permit Deferral Area” that covers the entirety of northern B.C.

Bruce Ralston, the minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, provided a statement via email.

“In March 2021, the Province and the Tahltan Nation signed an agreement to collaboratively develop and implement recommendations to improve the regulation of jade placer, jade hard-rock, and gold-placer mining within their territory, and we will continue to work through this Government-to-Government process to address the Tahltan Nation’s concerns and establish a long-term partnership.”

It appears the minister has little appetite for shutting down existing operations, however, having previously told Global News that would require compensating the permit holders.

Day acknowledged the province has acted and has committed to exploring solutions to environmental issues posed by the placer jade sector, but said restrictions on new permits are just not enough.

READ MORE: Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

The Tahltan want a “complete shutdown of the industry until negotiations with the TCG surrounding jade and placer mining projects are settled.”

The Tahltan have a reputation for being one of the most industry-friendly First Nations in the country, but Day feels the money and resources coming back to them for wildlife, health and safety and social programs is not commensurate with the amount of economic development they have created for B.C.

“The industry is not working for Tahltan and, quite frankly, it’s not working for the province either, they’re just not doing anything to address it,” he said.

While opposing the industry in its present form, Day said the Tahltan are not categorically opposed to jade and placer mining.

“It’s fair to say we are open to conversations with those industries, but there needs to be a complete overhaul,” he said. “When that overhaul happens, and when significant change happens, maybe we could support it, maybe we won’t. Maybe the industries won’t be feasible when you add additional regulations like further archaeology work, further reclamation work and so on and so forth.”

The Interior News is also awaiting responses from the B.C. government and the Bunce family.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Uplands Nursery this year will do all of the 4600 Block of Lazelle Ave., beginning at its east end, and a portion of the 4700 Block. (File photo)
Lazelle sidewalk project begins June 14

Improvements coming to 4600 and 4700 Blocks

Cassie Hall Elementary School students pose for a picture in their garden. Since 2019, students and staff at the school have been attending to the garden project. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
Cassie Hall students grow a green sanctuary at school

The K-6 elementary school students and staff have been working on the garden project since 2019

Glenn Bennett returns as chief councillor for Kitselas First Nation after June 10 elections. (Submitted photo)
Kitselas First Nation votes Glenn Bennett as chief councillor on June 10

Six council members were also elected from a packed pool of candidates

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read