June 19, 2015 - 2:37 PM
KAMLOOPS - Two local First Nations bands are claiming aboriginal title on the lands in and around Jacko Lake and the company behind the proposed mine planning to operate on those lands says it respects the assertion of title.
This week the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, made up of members of the Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn bands, said the area known as Pípsell has significant spiritual and historical importance and as a result has declared title over the ‘cultural keystone area.’
“The First Nations land and title issues raised by local Aboriginal leaders are complex and relate to issues both historic and contemporary involving many parties, including private landowners,” Robert Koopmans of KGHM Ajax Mining said in an email statement. “KGHM Ajax respects First Nations’ assertion of title and will continue to consult with area bands as we work through the environmental assessment process. The issues being raised are larger than Ajax, and involve questions of ownership and tenure that extend well past local borders. These are matters that have been outstanding in B.C. for decades.”
Koopmans said the company will continue to work with all parties including First Nations in hopes of brining a resolution to these ‘important concerns’ in regards to the proposed mine.
“KGHM Ajax remains committed to protecting and preserving Jacko Lake for the use and enjoyment of all,” he said.
KGHM is preparing to submit an environmental application for its proposed Ajax Mine. If approved the open-pit copper-gold mine will operate for more than 20 years just southwest of Kamloops, including the Jacko Lake area.
Members of Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn bands will officially be making the declaration of title at a ceremony on Sunday, June 21, at 9 a.m. at the Jacko Lake boat launch. Koopmans declined to say whether anyone from KGHM would be on hand for the ceremony.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015