Simpcw to picket about proposed Harper Creek Mine

Simpcw First Nation to conduct information picket about proposed Harper Creek Mine next Thursday at Vavenby

Simpcw First Nation announced on Friday that members of the band would conduct an information picket at the corner of Highway 5 and Vavenby Bridge Road on Thursday, Nov. 8.

According to the band’s media release, the purpose of this event will be to draw the attention of the public to Simpcw concerns about the proposed Harper Creek Mine.

At this point in time Simpcw First Nation neither supports nor opposes the project. It does, however, have serious concerns about the project’s long term impacts on the environment, on the aboriginal title held by Simpcw in its traditional territory and on the ability of Simpcw members to maintain their traditional aboriginal rights and activities on the land.

Simpcw community leaders are very much in favor of sustainable long-term economic development in the North Thompson Valley, for the benefit of their own community and also the other communities in the region. They do, however, want to ensure that the public is aware of the environmental costs and risks associated with a major open pit copper mine in the area and the mitigation measures that will be needed to address these should the project go ahead.

They also want to ensure that, if the project is implemented, the level of local long-term economic benefits is proportional to the environmental impacts and risks borne by local communities both during the mine’s operation and after it is decommissioned.

Members of the general public interested both in maintaining a high quality natural environment and in creating stable long-term jobs for local businesses and workers are welcome to visit the Simpcw information picket in Vavenby next Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the media release says.

The Harper Creek project is a proposed open pit copper-gold-silver mine that would be located about 10 km southwest of Vavenby. Yellowhead Mining is promoting it.

In August of 2011 members of the Neskonlith Indian Band held a small demonstration at the Community Resource Center in Clearwater to protest the proposed signing of a cooperation agreement between Imperial Metals and Simpcw First Nation in regards to a proposed lead-zinc mine at Ruddock Creek near Tum Tum Lake.

At the same time, members of Adams Lake Indian Band set up a blockade that reportedly restricted access to Imperial Metal’s exploration camp near Ruddock Creek.