BC Government Rejects KGHM Ajax Open Pit Mine on Sacred Lands, Honouring Commitment to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(Kamloops) Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) leadership is exuberant that the British Columbia Government, through the Ministries of Environment and Climate Action and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, has chosen to not issue the environmental assessment certificate for the KGHM Ajax Mine proposed copper and gold mine- effectively rejecting the project.
“We Secwépemc have never ceded or surrendered our rights or title. Our ancestors stood firm as have we, for the benefit of our future generations and guests in our territory. The British Columbian Government, in choosing to refuse KGHM Ajax’s environmental assessment, are enacting their commitment to uphold the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights and to implement the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Fred Seymour
No Free Prior and Informed Consent (No FPIC) – Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation made the decision on March 4, 2017, to NOT give its free, prior and informed consent to the development of the lands and resources at Pípsell (Jacko Lake and Area) for the purposes of the Ajax Mine Project. The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell (Jacko Lake and area) is in opposition to the SSN’s land use objective for this culturally important and historically significant keystone site which significance is fundamental and undiminished.
Strong opposition and no net benefit – SSN and others who have voiced their opposition to the proposed mine are alarmed that the Ajax has no net benefit to Canadians and British Columbians. Two 2016 reports, one by independent analyst Tim Oliver, the other by MiningWatch Canada, conclude that the Ajax open pit mine project, “does not make economic sense” and “represents an unconscionable risk to investors, governments and the public.” The watchdog organization recommended that the mine should not be permitted and that an investigation be undertaken by the BC Securities Commission for inadequate disclosure of risks and costs. The report highlights a number of social and environmental costs externalized to Kamloops and BC taxpayers and not monetized in Ajax’s studies.
“We call on the federal Cabinet to uphold Environment and Climate Change Minister McKenna’s decision and the Government of BC’s decision to say no to this project. We ask that the Government of Poland through their State-owned company, KGHM Ajax, to also do the right thing, as signatories to UNDRIP, and abandon this project. We honour the many who stood with us in our decision to say “no” to Ajax. We will remain steadfast in our goal of keeping this cultural treasure protected and accessible to all who wish to experience it.”
Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace
SSN Media Contact: Racelle Kooy, Mobile: (250) 267-7782, Email: [email protected]