The Gitxaaa Nation has filed a lawsuit against the provincial govt’s “free entry” mining claim staking policy. And the British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) has begun hearing arguments in the case.
The present Mineral Tenure Act of British Columbia allows anybody with a free miner certificate to online through mineral claims via an automated system in First Nations (ASFN) areas without their knowledge or permission.
The Country filed a legal complaint in the Supreme Court in Oct 2021 to contest the province’s approval of many mineral claims on Banks Island, which is located in their territory, between 2018 & 2020.
The Gitxaala assert that they were never asked for permission to issue claims, were never contacted. And were never made aware of impending decisions. They also claim that even though the provincial govt has publicly pledged to change the system of mineral tenure since they filed their lawsuit. It has not altered its legal position.
The case, which claims that British Columbia’s practise of approving mineral claims without consulting or obtaining consent from Indigenous peoples violates both constitutional requirements and the UNDRIP.
Which British Columbia is legally obligate to implement, is the 1st of its kind in the Canadian province.
Gitxaaa Chief Councillor Linda Innes stated in a media release that. “The Province continues to hand away mining rights on our land without our agreement.”
Despite the reported improvement & new partnerships promised when the govt signed the DRIP Act into law.
This interrupts with our right to manage our lands & set our own priorities. As well as our ownership, control, & usage of those lands, according to Innes.
The British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) will hear the matter untill Apr 14, 2023.