Mineral Tenure and Land Use Planning: The Surface and Subsurface Divide

First Nation Involvement in Land Use Planning

BC Mining Issue:BC First Nations have limited opportunities to participate in land use and resource management plans to control mining activities on their traditional territories.

Fair Mining Best Practice:Recognise the rights of First Nations to designate “no go zones” for mining and cite involvement of First Nations and local communities as an objective of land use planning legislation.

BC’s regional land use plans cover the traditional territories of numerous First Nations. Although considerable efforts have been made towards consent-based land use planning, in most cases, these plans were developed with little or no meaningful First Nations input. As a result, many of BC’s regional land use plans do not adequately reflect areas that are important or sensitive from a First Nations perspective.

According to a provincial government status report of the regional land use plans, many First Nations did not to participate in land use planning process because they lacked the capacity or resources, or because they believed it may harm their treaty negotiations.

To combat this lack of consultation, many First Nations have developed their own land use plans. However, they carry very little legal weight.

Possible solutions to this current issue include:

  • Allowing First Nations to designate no-go zones for mining.
  • Involving First Nations input as an objective of land use planning.
  • Empowering First Nations’ land use boards to carry out planning.
  • Involving First Nations in protected area designation.
  • Incorporating traditional knowledge in land use plans.
Coastal First Nations have been involved in establishing new conservancies in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Lil’wat Land Use Plan is unique in that it expands the definition of `land-use` by incorporating traditional knowledge into a land use plan. The Lil`wat example retains the people’s rights to carry out traditional uses across the territory and designates acceptable types of activities.


A Community Resource