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Council of Canadians in solidarity with the Klabona Keepers of the Tahltan First Nation

Klabona Keepers

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with the Klabona Keepers.

The Klabona Keepers of the Tahltan First Nation are blockading the site of the Imperial Metals’ Red Chris copper-gold mine in response to concerns over the mine and the tailings disaster at Imperial’s Mount Polley mine. The blockade was first established on August 8 for several weeks and was then set up again on October 1.

The Red Chris mine is located about 80 kilometres south of Dease Lake on Tahltan territory. The Fraser River and a major spawning ground for salmon are downstream of the mine. It is scheduled to open this month or next. The Keepers are elders and families who live on Tahltan traditional lands near Iskut known as the ‘sacred headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena Rivers’.

Last July, the Tyee reported, “Tailings generated by the Red Chris mine – a collection of fine crushed rock, water and chemicals from the mine’s mill – will eventually be deposited into a Y-shaped valley bottom, contained at each end by large dams. The tailings storage facility as planned straddles the headwaters of three local watersheds, and is downstream of both the Klappan River and a chain of large lakes draining into the Iskut River. Containing potentially acid-generating rock, much of the tailings will need to be submerged in water for ‘perpetuity’.”

A confidential industry-funded review acquired by the Tyee found that more study would be needed to understand how the estimated 300 million tonnes of tailings from the mine would affect the water in the upper Stikine watershed.

The Terrace Standard reports, “[A] notice of the mining company’s application for [an] injunction [to order the group to take down its blockade] was served to the Klabona Keepers the evening of Oct. 5… That document, which was filed with Vancouver Supreme Court Oct. 3., says that Red Chris Development Company Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial Metals Corp., will make the application in Vancouver Supreme Court at 10 a.m. Oct. 8. …The Klabona Keepers say they are accepting their imminent arrests if [the] court application is granted for [the] injunction…”

There will be a rally outside the court on October 8.

The Klabona Keepers have also been asking for people to “come join us and support our gathering and sacred fire at the entrance to Red Chris Mine.”

For further updates about the blockade, please see the Klabona Keepers Facebook page.

Further reading
The Klabona Keepers blockade the Red Chris mine over water concerns (August 9 blog)