July 8, 2015
SHESLAY, NORTHWEST BC – A group of Tahltan Elders, supported by Tahltan Central Council (TCG) president Chad Day, have travelled this week to a mine exploration site in the Sheslay area to seek a halt to work there.
Meanwhile, TCG president Chad Day also issued an open letter to the Province and a junior mining company Doubleview reminding them of the Tahltan Nation’s requirement that all mining activity in the Sheslay stop.
The TCG has repeatedly asked for Doubleview’s drilling rig to be removed because the Tahltan Nation strongly opposes mineral exploration in the area surrounding the Sheslay River.
Traditionally, Sheslay was occupied by the western Tahltan people. There are grave sites for many of the Tahltan clans there and the whole area was occupied and used. Today, Sheslay remains an important cultural, spiritual and traditional use area to the Tahltan people.
“Our people have been clear that the Sheslay area is not appropriate for major industrial development,” said TCG president Chad Day. “We have repeatedly asked Doubleview and the Province for the current work to stop, but we have been ignored.”
Although Doubleview has permission from the Province for exploration work, the Tahltan Nation was not properly consulted before a permit was issued. In May, the TCG sent a letter to all exploration permit holders asking them to stop work. Since then, TCG has also met with the Province and with Doubleview to request that activity stops, with no success.
The TCG is not opposed to all mining development. It works with industry and with the Province on its government-to-government relationship to make sure appropriate development takes place with proper consultation. In April of this year, the Tahltan people voted more than 80% in favour of an agreement with the new Red Chris mine in Tahltan territory.
TCG asserts that major mineral exploration in Sheslay is not in the interests of the Province, industry or the Tahltan people when the chance of Tahltan approval of any development there is so small.