Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples, including the Stó:lō, Syilx and Nlaka’pamux First Nations, as well as the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Upper Skagit Tribe and Sauk Suiattle Tribe, have depended upon the pristine ecosystem and diversity of wild salmon running in the Skagit River watershed. Imperial Metals, the corporation responsible for the Mount Polley disaster, is attempting to expand in B.C.
Photo Credit: @skagitwatershed
This spring, the B.C. government reached an agreement regarding historic mineral tenures in an area within the Silverdaisy watershed known as the Skagit River Donut Hole, surrounded by both Skagit Valley Park and E.C. Manning Park, and between Hope and Princeton. Previously, Friends of Clayoquot Sound joined a larger movement including the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs, First Nations, tribes, environmental groups including Wilderness Committee, recreational groups including the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., in addition to elected representatives from both sides of the border, to stop Imperial Metals from mining in the area.
B.C. entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Imperial Metals and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission that will see Imperial Metals return all its mining and related rights within the nearly 5,800-hectare Skagit River Donut Hole. The agreement aims to ensure the preservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources, as well as recreational opportunities within the headwaters of the Skagit River.
Meanwhile, within Clayoquot Sound, Imperial Metals continues to pursue developing a gold mine, called the Fandora project, within the unceded territory of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, as well as an open-pit copper mine on Catface Mountain in Ahousaht First Nations unceded territory. Both local Nations have been adamant that mining will not be allowed in their territories. A strong local movement stands to ensure Imperial Metals never mines in Clayoquot Sound.