Press release

Tahltan Nation Conditionally Supports Mining On Traditional Lands

January 27, 2004

WINNIPEG — The Tahltan First Nation has indicated a willingness to further their relationship with the mining industry under certain conditions, says a new report released today at the Minerals Exploration Roundup in Vancouver.

Out of Respect - The Tahltan, Mining and the Seven Questions to Sustainability report was the result of the Tahltan Mining Symposium held in Dease Lake, B.C., in April of 2003 which brought together members of the Tahltan Nation, mining industry representatives, the federal and provincial governments, and was facilitated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

The symposium and subsequent report reviewed the relationship between the Tahltan people and territory and mining/mineral activity.

"We wanted to send a signal that the Tahltan people are supportive of mining on their land," said Jerry Asp, Chief of the Tahltan Band. "But at the same time there have to be conditions that respect our concerns regarding fair distribution of costs and benefits."

"We want to make sure that any mining that happens on our traditional lands is a win-win for all parties – the Tahltan people, the mining industry and the government," he added.

Respecting environmental concerns and ensuring that any mining activity undertaken is done in a sustainable manner were also primary concerns of the Tahltan people.

"To guide us through the review of the Tahltan's relationship with the mining industry we used a process called the Seven Questions to Sustainability," said Anthony Hodge, facilitator of the symposium and leader of the mining and minerals team at the International Institute for Sustainable Development. "We want to make sure that the health, social, cultural, environmental, as well as economic, implications of mining and mineral activity are fully addressed."

"The key to this is effective engagement in decision making of the numerous interests," he added.

"We want to ensure that our relationship with the Tahltan people is one of mutual respect and understanding of each other's concerns," said Dennis Bergen, former Vice President, Operations with Wheaton River Minerals Ltd. "Wheaton River has worked with the Tahltan to that end, and I am happy to have been invited to participate in this comprehensive process."

The Tahltan Mining Symposium, held in Dease Lake, B.C., April 4-6th, 2003, was supported by: Barrick Gold Corporation, British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, British Columbia Ministry of Sustainable Resources Management, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Natural Resources Canada, Noranda Inc., Wheaton River Minerals Ltd.

For further information on the Tahltan Mining Symposium, please click here.

To download Out of Respect - The Tahltan, Mining and the Seven Questions to Sustainability, please click here.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.