Williams Lake, BC – May 19, 2016: The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) strongly opposes Amarc Resources Ltd.’s (TSX-V: AHR) recent application to the Province of BC for additional exploration within the Upper Taseko (Dasiqox) watershed for the Ike project.
If approved by the Province without the consent of the Tsilhqot’in, Amarc would be allowed to develop IP lines outside of the current Ike claim. Amarc already drilled 18 holes for their exploration program, and recently received Provincial approval for an additional 50 holes within the claim area. None of these approvals have received the consent of the Tsilhqot’in. The cumulative effects of these applications and approvals should not be overlooked.
“The consent of the Tsilhqot’in people has not been given for any of Amarc’s activities, proposed or otherwise. The continual submission of applications from Amarc are quickly building the Ike claim towards what the Tsilhqot’in people have been opposed to within the Dasiqox (Taseko) area for decades – an open pit mine,” said Chief Roger Williams, Vice-Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government and Chief of Xeni Gwet’in.
The affected Tsilhqot’in communities of Xeni Gwet’in and Yunesit’in have told Amarc and the Province that the Upper Taseko is a ‘no go zone’ and requested high-level discussions about the ongoing land use planning concerns. The communities have also invited Amarc and its new investor, Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. (TSX-TCM), to abandon these interests and instead, work on mutually acceptable projects elsewhere within the Tsilhqot’in territory. The companies have not accepted this offer even though the Upper Taseko remains closed for discussion for many reasons.
“Xeni Gwet’in and Yunesit’in had discussions with Amarc, and after an engagement process, were given a clear mandate from the communities that the Ike location and the surrounding area are not appropriate for mineral exploration,” Chief Roger Williams said. “We are open to discussions of assessing mineral potential outside of this no go zone with Amarc and Thompson Creek Metals, but we remain strongly opposed to mineral development or exploration within areas that are key to supporting our health and livelihoods.”
Amarc’s Ike project lies within the Dasiqox Tribal Park and in high-value wilderness habitat providing connectivity for keystone species, such as mule deer and grizzly bears (which are part of the threatened South Chilcotin population unit). The area of the Ike claim also has Whitebark Pine – a threatened species that is an important food source for grizzly bears. The claim is also within the buffer zone for mountain goat winter range. Baseline data of the mountain goat is negligible due to the province’s last survey being over 20 years old. This effectively means that the impacts of helicopter traffic and drilling will never be fully known. The project is also within the headwaters and source of the Dasiqox (Taseko River) which flows into the Tsilhqox (Chilko River), Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin River), and ?Elht’aqox (Fraser River) systems.
“Often resource decisions are made as fragments of the whole,” said Chief Russell Myers Ross, Yunesit’in Government. “In this case, we are not talking just about an IP line application or water permits. We are looking at the cumulative effects of all applications, future approvals, locations of activities, the relationship we have with the industry or government – including their ability to honour and respect free, prior and informed consent. It was clear when we had meetings with the communities that we were not given the mandate to entertain such a reckless endeavour. These kinds of decisions reaffirm why our communities are pursuing the development of the Dasiqox Tribal Park and why we are turning away from those that will not abide by our vision for the land.”
The Tsilhqot’in Nation calls on the public to express their concerns over mineral exploration within the Upper Taseko. The communities also call on the Province and Amarc/Thompson Creek to show real leadership and accept the offer to look elsewhere for mineral exploration, stopping all planned drilling and development of IP lines for the Ike project.
For more information, visit:
- River Voices Films: rivervoicesfilms.wix.com/rivervoices#!films/c22j5
- Previous Press: http://www.tsilhqotin.ca/PDFs/Press%20Releases/2015_09_12_Amarc.pdf
- Dasiqox Tribal Park: http://www.dasiqox.org/
- Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRgUFf_9opQ