Fandora Gold: Tofino-Tranquil (Onadsilth-Eelsukis) Tribal Park VS Imperial Metals, Canada


The Fandora mine conflict is a ‘point of extraction’ conflict between different land use intentions. The mining company Imperial Metals has plans for exploratory drilling for gold in the area. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have designated the area as a tribal park called Onadsilth-Eelsukis. Tribal parks presrcibe a land use vision of sustainable, place based economy in line with existing cultural and spiritual values in the area.

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Basic Data
Name Fandora Gold: Tofino-Tranquil (Onadsilth-Eelsukis) Tribal Park VS Imperial Metals, Canada
ProvinceBritish Columbia
SiteTla-o-qui-aht Traditional Territories including muncipality of Tofino
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe area of Imperial Metal's Fandora property is 5,056 hectares. To date no significant extraction or exploration has been put into this property but there is active interest in an expanded exploration permit that includes 20 drill samples at two different locations.
Project Area (in hectares)4,423.69
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population~ 5,000
Start Date21/07/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesImperial Metals Corporation (IM) from Canada - Owner of site tenure
Relevant government actorsBill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines in British Columbia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersTla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Western Canadian Wilderness Committee, Clayoquot Action, Social Environmental Alliance, Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, Tofino Municipal Council, Victoria City Council,
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
OtherDisruption of salmon migration, preventing local ecosystem from recovering from 1980's logging impacts.
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Accidents
OtherReduction in air quality leading to increased respiratory problems, reduced access to medicinal plants for traditional healing,
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherDamage to local Eco-tourism through reputation loss and perceived/actual changes in living environment, undermining local First-Nations sovereignty, destruction of local economic development plans that respect the ecological and spiritual value of the area,
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Development of AlternativesWhen Imperial Metals corporation first approached the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations about exploring a gold mine on their territories the Tla-o-qui-aht chief and council spoke and agreed that mining was not in line with their traditional land use and the governance of their territories under natural law. Since that first meeting the Tla-o-qui-aht have finalized and published their Tribal Parks land use plan, covering all their territories. The plan decrees that Tranquil Creek will be the site of salmon enhancement and will protect the waters of Tranquil Creek for spiritual bathing ceremonies. Tranquil inlet will also continue to be an important site for Eco-tourism such as bear watching. This locally developed plan, calling for a mining ban on tla-o-qui-aht territories, has garnered significant local support from EJO's, local governments, and even the Tofino Long-beach chamber of commerce.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.This conflict is ongoing, though Imperial Metals has yet to bring any heavy equipment in for exploration there has also been no move by the provincial government or the corporation to expire the tenure and hand control over to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. The regional ask is for a mining ban on all Tla-o-qui-aht territories and all allied and supporting groups will continue to work towards that aim.
Sources and Materials

BC's mineral tenures act is well over 100 years old. This free-entry system allows companies to claim any minerals under the earths surface regardless of the land use above them and has enabled Imperial Metals to stake a claim on Tla-o-qui-aht Territory without their consent.
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Radio Interview with FOCS campaigner about Fandora and other mining plans in Clayoquot Sound (interview starts at 32 minutes)
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Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks home page, learn more about the Tla-o-qui-aht Land Use vision.
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Comparing Clayoquot Sound with BC's largest mining spill; what would be some of the local consequences.
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A great resource on fixing the mining code in British Columbia and preventing conflicts like this from emerging in the future.
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Other Documents

Citizen research crew investigating fandora Two FOCS citizen investigators look out from a heli-block clear cut near the potential Fandora mine site.
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Fandora Expedition FOCS volunteers posing with banner above tranquil inlet near the potential mine site.
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Other CommentsRegular updates on the Fandora Gold situation are available through the Friends of Clayoquot Sound (the organization the author works for).
Meta Information
ContributorEmery Hartley, Campaigner for Friends of Clayoquot Sound, [email protected]
Last update24/11/2014