Imperial Metals has been granted a temporary court injunction against a group of Tahltan and others who are blocking access to the company’s nearly-completed Red Chris copper mine in northwestern B.C.
The enforcement order part of the injunction is to take effect Oct. 14.
The company was in Vancouver Supreme Court today arguing its case that the blockade is preventing workers and supplies from getting to the site.
The interim injunction could clear the way for police to arrest the blockaders who consist of a Tahltan group calling itself the Klabona Keepers, members of the Secwepemc First Nation, and other environmental activists. The blockade has been up since Sept. 29.
The Secwepemc First Nation has the Mount Polley copper mine, also owned by Imperial Metals, within its territory and it was the Aug. 4 failure of that mine’s tailings pond which is driving the blockade at Red Chris.
Blockaders say they don’t have confidence in the Red Chris tailings pond design.
Today’s injunction is also in effect until a permit is issued for the Red Chris mine tailings facility.
Imperial needs that permit in order to completely open its mine.
The tailings facility is also the subject of a review being paid for by Imperial and is being conducted by a company chosen by the Tahltan Central Council, the overall governing authority of the Tahltan.
A further order coming today is that Imperial’s original application for a more permanent injunction is adjourned until a new date is set. That new hearing will be held in Terrace.
In the meantime, information posted on the Klabona Keepers’ Facebook site indicates the group is distancing themselves from the Tahltan Central Council, saying the council doesn’t represent the true wishes of Tahltan people.
Tahltan Central Council president Chad Day, who has not yet responded to requests from theTerrace Standard for comment, did respond to the Klabona Keepers’ Facebook post, saying he represents the entire Tahltan Nation.
“I will continue to represent the entire Tahltan Nation which is a lot different than answering to a handful of Tahltans and the non-Tahltan individuals who pay them to blockade and write their press releases. The Tahltan people as a whole are very reasonable and progressive and this internal matter will be dealt with appropriately in time. The Tahltan Nation will continue to move forward in a good way,” he wrote last night.
The original story contained an error in saying Rhoda Quock was in court representing the Klabona Keepers and she was the one who requested the venue change to Terrace.
Below is a press release from the Klabona Keepers.
The Klabona Keepers issued a press release late in the day Oct. 8 outlining the results of a day in court where Imperial Metals attempted to get an injunction to make them take down their blockade on access roads to its Red Chris Mine project.
“Imperial Metals, on short leave, applied for an interlocutory injunction and enforcement order against the Klabona Keepers Red Chris mine blockade and sacred fire lit on September 29, 2014. In a historic move, Justice Grauer did not grant the interlocutory injunction or the enforcement order,” said the release.
The release goes on to say the injunction application was heard Oct. 8 in supreme court in Vancouver and that Imperial Metals’ Steve Robertson was in attendance. The corporation was represented by three lawyers, it continued.
Three women from the Tahltan and Secwepemc Nations, who lit sacred fires in response to Imperial Metals Mount Polley tailings pond leak “and out of concern and love for land and life represented themselves and were successful,” the release continued.
“First in petitioning the court to hear and approve a change of venue application to Terrace so that the Elders and youths can attend, witness and speak to the application. Second in blocking the interlocutory injunction and immediate enforcement order from being approved. The Judge instead issued a non-permanent injunction without an enforcement order to be immediately applied.
“The enforcement order is instead held off until October 14, 2014 to allow time for the rightful titleholders of the land to respond and gather in traditional governance structure to reach consensus on how to respond to the temporary injunction,” said the release.