New Prosperity Mine: Canada must heed warning that proposed mine would have severe impacts on Indigenous rights

by Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

A proposed gold-copper mine would have “severe” and “irreversible” impacts on the rights of the Tsilhqot’in people of central British Columbia.

This is the conclusion of an independent federal panel that examined the potential impact of the proposed “New Prosperity” mine. The environmental impact assessment also found a wide range of serious environmental impacts on the lakes, rivers and wetlands.

Under federal environmental legislation, the actual decision about whether the project should go ahead is in the hands of cabinet. The federal government is under considerable pressure to approve the proposed “New Prosperity” mine because of the promised economic benefits to the region.

The Tsilhqot’in people, however, have been clear that the mine is unacceptable to them.

As the newly released environmental impact assessment report noted,

“The Panel is convinced that the Tsilhqot’in cultural attachment to Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and the Nabas areas is so profound that they cannot reasonably be expected to accept the conversion of that area into the proposed New Prosperity mine.”

Historic violations of the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada have had devastating impacts on their cultures and economies. It is unacceptable for governments in Canada to consider imposing further harm on the Tsilhqot’in solely to benefit other members of society.

The federal government must respect the protections for Indigenous rights that are set out under Canadian and international law. And it should heed the warning of its own environmental assessment. The federal government should reject the proposed mine.

Please take action

Please join us in appealing to the federal Minister of the Environment to do the right thing. Write a letter, in your words urging the federal government to heed the warning of its own environmental impact assessment and reject a mine proposal that would have “severe” impacts on the rights of the Tsilhqot’in people.

Address your letter to:

Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of the Environment
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

Learn more and take action