Update: July 2, 2015
Chapter Two: First Nations’ Resource Policies, was written prior to the development and adoption of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) Mining Policy.
A joint effort with the Fair Mining Collaborative, the NStQ Mining Policy was adopted in November of 2014 by the NStQ Leadership Council, (made up of Tsq’escen’, Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem, Xat’sull, and T’exelc First Nations). It incorporates many provisions from Fair Mining Practices: A New Mining Code for British Columbia, and is, we believe, the best policy of its kind in the world. Interested researchers should consult the NStQ Mining Policy, found in our resources section, in addition to this chapter.
“Recent court decisions, and the establishment of political agreements such as the New Relationship, have affirmed the central role of First Nations in decision-making and management related to the mining sector.”
– BC First Nations Energy & Mining Council (2008)1
First Nations who are well prepared to respond to proposed mining activities on their traditional territories are more likely to ensure that such activities provide real long-term benefits to their communities and that they are carried out in a manner that protects their Aboriginal rights and title, interests and values.
One way for First Nations to assert more control over resource management on their traditional territories is to develop strong resource policies. First Nations’ resource policies can help inform proponents and other levels of government of First Nations’ interests and expectations. For example, resource policies can set out appropriate consultation processes and minimum terms and conditions to attach to mine permits.2 Such policies can also guide First Nations’ staff in the review of mining proposals and the protection of the traditional territory before and during operations.3
Such policies may also be useful to discharge First Nations’ obligations (as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada) “to carry their end of the consultation, to make their concerns known, to respond to the government’s attempt to meet their concerns and suggestions, and to try to reach some mutually satisfactory solution.”4