The Tsilhqot’in National Government has filed a notice of claim in BC Supreme Court against Imperial Metals.
Mount Polley, Knight Peisold, AMEC and the Province of BC have also been named in response to the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach in August of 2014.
In response to the breach, a State of Emergency was declared, and ‘no fishing’ and ‘no water use’ orders were put in place for Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River.
The claim also maintains that the breach seriously impacted traditional fishing of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and also left their people unsure about the safety of consuming fish from the Fraser, Chilcotin, Chilko and Taseko rivers.
The Notice of Civil Claim alleges that the Province of BC failed to meet reasonable standards of inspection and regulation, while the company and the engineers acted negligently or otherwise failed to meet their duties to protect the public and the Tsilhqot’in people from this type of disaster.
Despite filing the notice, the TNG is not yet taking active steps to litigation.
Instead it is extending an opportunity to discuss the Notice with BC and potentially the company before proceeding further.
Chief Francis Laceese, Chief of Tl’esqox:
“Ts’eman (salmon) are at the core of Tsilhqot’in culture. Any threat to the salmon we depend on has the potential to directly impact the livelihoods of us as Tsilhqot’in people. The full impact to our Ts’eman is still not fully known. Our people will not stand by and watch environmental disasters wipe out our sources of food, spirit, and ceremony. We already are facing a huge impact to our sustenance because of the dramatic moose decline in the Territory. This is our economy and right that is impacted. ”
Chief Bernie Mack, Chief of Esdilagh First Nation:
“Not only were our people directly impacted by the uncertainty of the safety of our fish and wildlife for consumption, but the economic development of our nation was also affected as our commercial fishery was effectively cancelled. We are filing this Notice to hold the company, its engineers and the Province accountable and to ensure our people receive compensation for the failure of the Province of BC and Imperial Metals and the huge impact this disaster has had on our food and economies. We are disappointed the Province has given the Company a free pass. This is not an example of responsible and sustainable mining.”