Skeena Resources Limited (TSX:SKE), the mining company developing the Eskay Creek and Snip gold mine projects in B.C.’s Golden Triangle, is voluntarily surrendering a mineral claim it has near Mount Edziza Provincial Park in order to create a new protected area.
Known to the Tahltan First Nation as Ice Mountain, the area is culturally significant to the Tahltan, which had historically done a bit of mining themselves there, for obsidian, used to make tools and weapons.
Skeena holds a mineral claim on the area, but is surrendering the claim in order to create a new 3,500 hectare conservancy next to the 230,000-hectare Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
The new conservation area is being created in partnership with the Tahltan, Skeena Resources, the provincial government, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and federal Natural Heritage Conservation Program.
“Working alongside Skeena Resources, the province, BC Parks Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to provide further protection to this area is an initiative we can all take pride in," said Chad Norman Day, president of Tahltan Central Government. "I am so relieved and thrilled that Mount Edziza is better protected for our future generations."
Conservancies don’t have quite the same level of protection as class A provincial parks. Conservancy lands can be used for some low-impact activities, such as recreation and even run-of-river hydro projects. But more intensive activities, like logging and mining, are prohibited.
“This is a triple win,” said Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. “Together, we’re protecting a huge area for wildlife and nature, we’re advancing reconciliation and we’re supporting sustainable recreation and use.”
"Through many open and respectful conversations with Tahltan leaders over the years, we have developed a sincere appreciation of the cultural importance of this area to Tahltan,” said Walter Coles, CEO of Skeena Resources.
“We are deeply committed to our partnership with the Tahltan Nation and are happy that we can play a role in protecting this area for future generations. This is reconciliation in action and symbolic of our partnership commitment to Tahltan.”
The conservancy will technically fall under provincial conservancy laws, but the Tahltan are working on co-management plans for the area.
"Technically this falls under the umbrella of the province but every year the TCG and the Tahltan Nation are getting more and more involved with co-management and oversight," Day said.