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Friday, August 1, 2014

B.C. First Nation behind landmark land title case releases mining policy

VANCOUVER - A B.C. First Nation behind a recent Supreme Court of Canada case that affirmed aboriginal land title rights has released a new policy to guide mining projects on its territory.

The Tsilhqot'in (sill-KOH'-teen) National Government's policy also follows the group's successful fight against the New Prosperity mine, which was rejected by the federal government earlier this year.

The policy says the Tsilhqot'in isn't opposed to mining, but that resource companies must ensure they minimize the negative impacts of such projects while guaranteeing the community benefits.

The document says exploration and mining companies must sign formal agreements before they will be approved and the Tsilhqot'in will ensure its people have priority when it comes to training and jobs.

Chief Joe Alphonse says in a news release that the rejection of the New Prosperity mine should serve as a lesson to resource companies that they must work with First Nations from the very beginning of their projects.

The Tsilhqot'in, which is made up of six bands, won a decades-long court case in June that recognized aborigina title over 1,750 square kilometres of territory in northern B.C. -CP-

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