Today, British Columbia Energy Minister Josie Osborne approves the Blackwater Gold project, a gold and silver mine located on the territories of the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation and Ulkatcho First Nation. The decision came after extensive consultation with Indigenous communities and environmental specialists, and the government of Canada.
The mine, situated 112 kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof, is expected to create 825 direct full-time jobs per year during the construction and expansion phases of mine development and 450 full-time jobs per year during its 22-year operating life. It is estimated to contribute $13.2 billion to the provincial economy during its lifetime, including $2.3 billion in provincial revenue.
Premier David Eby said, “The Blackwater Gold project will put lots of people to work and create a wide range of opportunities and benefits for local businesses, communities, and First Nations, while ensuring the highest standards of environmental protection, mitigation, and sustainability.”
The approval of the project has not come without controversy. Many Indigenous leaders and environmentalists have expressed their concerns about the potential impacts of the mine on the surrounding environment and the Indigenous communities that live in the area.
In response, the government has emphasized that the project was approved only after extensive consultation with Indigenous communities and meets the highest environmental protection and sustainability standards.
“Ulkatcho First Nation has been involved in the development of the Blackwater Gold Project in earnest since 2015 by working with New Gold Inc. throughout the environmental assessment process. Today, we continue to work in collaboration with Artemis Gold Inc., Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, and both the federal and provincial governments, to achieve the best mitigation results for all Canadians. We are pleased to hear the major mines permit has been approved. A lot of hard work has been done by all parties involved.” Said Chief Lynda Price of Ulkatcho First Nation
The project will be subject to rigorous environmental monitoring and management, and the government has committed to ensuring that the project adheres to the highest environmental protection and mitigation standards. This includes monitoring and managing water quality, wildlife and habitat, air quality, and noise levels.
The approval of the Blackwater Gold project is a significant development for the mining industry in British Columbia and is expected to create many economic opportunities for the region. It is also a reminder of the ongoing tension between economic development and environmental protection and the importance of balancing these interests in a way that respects the rights of Indigenous communities and protects the natural environment.