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Tahltan Nation v. Fortune Minerals, BC, Canada


The Tahltan First Nation in northern British Columbia is determined to halt a massive coal mine proposed in an area known as the Sacred Headwaters. They claim the project threatens the headwaters of three important salmon rivers: the Skeena, Nass and Stikine. It is also adjacent to the Spatsizi wilderness area, where they hunt.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tahltan Nation v. Fortune Minerals, BC, Canada
State or province:British Colombia
(municipality or city/town)Iskut
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal
Anthracite Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The project consists of 16,411 hectares of coal exploration licenses in northwest British Columbia. The measured and indicated resources are of 231 million tonnes and Inferred Resources of 359 million tonnes.

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Project area:16,410
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Fortune Minerals from Canada - 80%
POSCanada from Canada - subsidiary of POSCO 20%
Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actors:Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Government of British Colombia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Klabona Keepers, Tahltan Council, Mines and Communities
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Land occupation
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
The protesters have occupied 2 drilling rigs belonging to the company
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Moratoria on the project for the moment
Development of alternatives:The community asks for a long-term plan to protect the area surrounding Mount Klappan in Northwest BC as well as recognition over the territory which has never been ceded to the government of Canada.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The case is ongoing. The Tahltan seem set on defending this area as it is the spawning ground for salmon for many rivers in BC.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislationsĀ - Juridical texts related to the conflict

In British Colombia, there were never any treaties signed between First Nations and the Canadian Government, thus they consider their territory as unceded lands. The DELGAMUUKW v. BRITISH COLUMBIA case seemed to uphold their right to title over their lands, but has not been clearly implemented.

LinksĀ to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Klabona Keepers on Facebook
[click to view]

Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013
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Fortune Minerals, Arctos Anthracite project
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Tahltan First Nation, Fortune Minerals face off over coal mine project

MARK HUME, The Globe and Mail

Tahltan members block Fortune mine access road as leaders prepare to meet with Government -
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

year old Tahltan boy stands up to CEO of open pit coal mine.
[click to view]

Tahltan Stand Tall Against Fortune Minerals Coal Plans
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Leah Temper
Last update24/06/2014