B.C. law reform group applies to be intervener in First Nation’s petition against mining claims

The Lawyers Daily

By Anosha Khan, The Lawyers Daily

The B.C. Mining Law Reform Network and several of its member organizations have applied for intervener status in Gitxaała First Nation’s petition for judicial review on seven mineral claims that are “staked on its territory without its consent.”

The groups who applied for intervener status argued in court on Dec. 15 for “their right to speak to public interest issues,” regarding the Mineral Tenure Act.

“The Mineral Tenure Act is outdated legislation — a holdover from the Gold Rush era,” said Jamie Kneen, co-chair of the B.C. Mining Law Reform network and national program co-lead with MiningWatch Canada, in a statement. 

“While the B.C. government has promised to update the law, it has taken little action and continues to strenuously oppose litigation by First Nations standing up for their rights. Gitxaała’s case is aimed at forcing the government to resolve this situation.”

In October 2021 Gitxaała Nation filed a petition in the British Columbia Supreme Court against the province and four mineral claim holders. Along with a review of the mineral claims, which it seeks to quash or set aside, the nation asked for a “determination of the constitutionality of the province’s free-entry mineral claim staking process and its consistency with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” considering British Columbia’s 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

“Not only is the Mineral Tenure Act inconsistent with Indigenous rights, it also disregards private property rights and other land uses, including conservation,” said Nikki Skuce, co-chair of the B.C. Mining Law Reform network and director of the Northern Confluence Initiative.


Read the full article here.