Fortune Minerals Back in the Spotlight as Protests Target Coal Mine
Planned in BC's Sacred Headwaters
HAZELTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/23/12 -- Last week,
junior mining company Fortune Minerals was the target of another
public protest in response to its controversial plan to build an
open-pit coal mine on Mt Klappan in the heart of an area of British
Columbia known as the Sacred Headwaters.
Five protesters gained entry to the "Hard Assets" mining investors'
conference in San Francisco carrying a large banner that read, "A
Risky Investment: Fortune Minerals. Don't fund social conflict on
First Nations Land."
"Our community will be severely impacted as this area is where our
cultural activities take place. This project will destroy a way of
life for our people if it goes ahead and we have said as a community
that it's never going to happen, we will do anything we have to in
order to stop this development!" said Iskut Band Chief, Marie Quock.
Quock says Fortune's claims that it is working with the Tahltan First
Nation, on whose traditional territory the coal mine is located, are
false. In 2006, members of the Tahltan blockaded the main access
road. Thirteen Tahltan elders were arrested, putting a stop to
Fortune Mineral's exploration program on Mt Klappan.
In September the Tahltan Central Council issued a press release
stating, "We want to make it clear that the Klappan area is one of
the most sacred and important areas for the Tahltan people. It is a
place of tremendous cultural, spiritual, and social importance. It is
not an area that the Tahltan people have expressed interest to see
Fortune's mine plan is controversial because Mount Klappan sits at
the centre of the Sacred Headwaters, where three of North America's
most valuable wild salmon rivers - the Skeena, Stikine and Nass - all
originate. Tahltan families have long relied on the area's moose,
caribou, and wild salmon for sustenance.
The Sacred Headwaters is also the site of another controversial
proposal: a Royal Dutch Shell plan to drill for coalbed methane. In
2008, the B.C. government placed a moratorium on gas drilling after
strong opposition from the Tahltan and downstream communities who are
opposed to development in this sensitive area.
"We are confident t
hat neither Shell's project nor Fortune Minerals'
will go forward," said Shannon McPhail, executive director of the
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. "We depend on the Sacred
Headwaters to help sustain our $110 million wild salmon economy on
the Skeena and we're prepared to do what it takes to ensure this
important place isn't damaged."
PHOTO AVAILABLE: http://skeenawatershed.com/news/article/fortune_mine
Iskut Band Council
Tahltan Central Council
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
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