First Nations Coalition Wants Northgate to Justify Its Mining Proposal Against Their Interests

5 Nations: Gitxsan House of Nii Kyap - Takla Lake First Nation - Fort Connelly First Nation - Kwadacha First Nation - Tsay Keh Dene First Nation

Prince George (October 4, 2004) – As a result of a meeting held today in Prince George, the coalition of five First Nations opposing Northgate Minerals Corporation’s proposed “Kemess North” mine stated the company is not able to justify its proposal with regard to their interests.

“Northgate must be able to justify its proposal in the context of our interests,” said Justa Monk, spokesperson for the five First Nations whose shared traditional territory will be impacted by Northgate’s proposal. “If it continues on with its proposal then we require a meaningful process which will look at it from the perspective of our interests.”

The five First Nations are Gitxsan House of Nii Kyap, Takla Lake First Nation, Fort Connelly First Nation, Kwadacha First Nation, and the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation.

“Northgate is attempting to balance the high value of gold, copper and economic spin-offs with the destruction of Duncan Lake,” said Monk. “But that isn’t going to fly with our people.”

The coalition stated Northgate’s current proposal lacks even basic information, such as the lake’s fish inventory, identifying the various types and counts of animals dependent on the lake, and those inter-connected tributaries that the lake has within the Findlay and Skeena watersheds.

“It must be understood that our people eat the fish from that lake and the game animals from the surrounding area. But we’re also concerned for their health and well-being despite our reliance on them for sustenance,” explained Monk.

Furthermore, the group is concerned the public doesn’t fully understand the implications of Northgate’s proposal to dump acid-laden tailings into the lake.

“It’s illegal to kill a body of water bearing fish as a result of mine operations,” said Justa Monk.

“If, and it’s a big if, the federal government ever changes the rules to allow Northgate to destroy the lake, then it’ll be open-season on every creek, river, and lake, even the coastal shorelines in this country,” said Monk.

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For more information, contact Justa Monk, spokesperson, at 250-961-3925
or contact Kevin Ward, media relations, at 604-314-4083.
200-1460 Sixth Avenue, Prince George, BC V2L 3N2