VICTORIA, BC: According to a release by The Canadian Press, the granting of new coal mining rights has been frozen for a year in the Klappan, an area of north-west B.C. considered sacred by the Tahltan First Nation.
The native group says the B.C. government and the Tahltan Central Council have a deal that stops the granting of new coal mining rights to allow more time to reach an agreement on the future of the area.
Tahltan Council President Annita McPhee says the deferral order covers 225,000 ha of the area near the confluence of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers, known as Sacred Headwaters for the rich salmon-bearing waters and its cultural and spiritual significance.
McPhee says the deferral impacts 62 coal licence applications, but existing coal tenures and authorizations, including the Fortune Minerals’ Arctos project are not impacted.
Last fall, London, Ontario-based Fortune Minerals announced it was pausing exploratory work for an open-pit coal mine in Klappan, following an earlier decision by Shell Canada to give up its rights to explore and drill for coal-bed methane gas.
Those decisions follow several protests, including a blockade by members of the Tahltan First Nation in the area about 400 km north of Smithers, B.C..
Your headline “BC Suspends Coal Mining” misrepresents the body of the article as well as the effect of the government deferral order. As I understand the order 62 applications for coal rights will not be processed and turned into coal licences for the period covered by the order (1 year). Many of these applications will have already been sitting on a government desk in limbo for a considerable period of time. At the application stage coal exploration can not take place under normal conditions so in reality little has changed. Not a single coal mine in production, nor a single active exploration program under a coal licence have been suspended, but your headline certainly leads the reader to believe otherwise. Is this a case of sloppy journalism or a case to sensationalize a story? This deserves an explanation from the Mining Journal!