Protest could delay mining operation

Harwood said the issue and what it could mean to the Valley would be on the agenda of the next community-to-community forum

A mini-demonstration by First Nations protesters at the Community Resource Center in Clearwater on Aug. 9 and a related blockade of a mining camp near Tum Tum Lake could have important implications to the North Thompson Valley, according to Mayor John Harwood.

“I spoke with (Imperial Metals vice-president) Gordon Keevil and (Imperial Metals exploration manager) Jim Miller-Tait and I understand the issue has been temporarily resolved,” Harwood reported to Clearwater council last Tuesday evening.

The mayor said that he had also spoken to John Duncan, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

The minister wouldn’t discuss this particular issue, he said, but did give some details on the general approach that Ottawa is using.

Duncan told him that there just over 200 Indian bands in B.C. out of about 600 in all of Canada, and so much of the Ministry’s work takes place in this province, the mayor reported.

Harwood said the issue and what it could mean to the Valley would be on the agenda of the next community-to-community forum, which are meetings held between First Nations and local government politicians and officials.

The mini-demonstration on Aug. 9 was by members of the Neskonlith Indian Band while the blockade apparently involved mostly members of the Adams Lake Indian Band.

Both bands were unhappy that Simpcw First Nation was about to sign a cooperation agreement with Selkirk Metals, a subsidiary of Imperial Metals, owners of a proposed major zinc-lead mine at Ruddock Creek