AIB, Cook’s Ferry part of $7 million deal

Ashcroft Indian Band and Cook's Ferry Band benefit from revenue-sharing agreement with Highland Valley Copper.

VANCOUVER – Eight Nlaka’pamux Bands will be better able to support the well-being of their communities and members thanks to investment in a legacy trust of more than $7 million from a revenue-sharing agreement with British Columbia from the expansion of the Highland Valley Copper (HVC) mine.

The revenues are the result of an Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA) signed in March 2013. ECDAs are agreements between B.C. and First Nations for sharing the direct mineral tax revenue on new mines and major mine expansions. They are entered into on a case-by-case basis with impacted First Nations.

The first ECDA was signed in 2010 for the New Afton Mine and the B.C. government has signed a further nine mining revenue-sharing agreements since then that will bring benefits to First Nations communities, while also helping to create certainty for the mining industry.

The agreement enables the Ashcroft Indian Band, Boston Bar First Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, Nicomen Indian Band, Nooaitch Indian Band, Shackan Indian Band and Siska Indian Band to share mineral tax revenues received from the Highland Valley Copper mine. The mine is the largest operating metal mine in B.C., employing over 900 full-time workers.

“The ECDA is a positive step towards the recognition of the impact from mining in the Highland Valley since 1962 and the ability to address those impacts on our community and members today and in the future through the Nlaka’pamux Legacy Trust,” said Cook’s Ferry Indian Band Chief David Walkem.

The ECDA also provides the framework for a strengthened government-to-government relationship, and spells out how B.C. will meet its legal obligations to consult and accommodate the eight Nlaka’pamux Bands with respect to the on-going operation of the mine.

“Teck is committed to creating real benefits for First Nations and communities in the areas where we operate,” said HVC General Manager Chris Dechert. “This agreement between B.C. and the Nlaka’pamux Bands will help to create economic growth and opportunity for years to come.”

The Highland Valley Copper mine, owned by Teck, is located at Logan Lake and lies within the traditional territory of the Nlaka’pamux. In total, there are 14 Nlaka’pamux Bands that will benefit from three separate ECDAs related to the HVC mine.

To date, B.C. has shared more than $11.7 million in mineral tax revenues as a result of ECDAs with First Nations in whose traditional territories mines are located.

Submitted