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Province of British Columbia and Tahltan Central government reach agreement for Eskay Creek

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Skeena Resources Ltd has welcomed the consent-based decision-making agreement reached by the Province of British Columbia (B.C.) and the Tahltan Central government. Through this agreement, the proposed Eskay Creek gold-silver project, located in Tahltan Territory, will be the first mining project to have permits authorised by an Indigenous government. As a formal recognition of the Tahltan Nation’s right to manage resource development decisions within their Territory, it is a significant step forward by all parties to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the environmental assessment pro-cess.

This historic agreement changes the approach to environmental assessments on the Tahltan Nation’s land by introducing a framework that ensures Tahltan values and rights are respected from the outset. Additionally, the agreement will also make possible the development of a new model for sustainable mining and world-class environmental practices and standards and lead to unprecedented business certainty of Indigenous consent for a mining project.

Skeena sees this agreement as an historic step toward recognising the rights and title of First Nations in B.C. and a major benefit for Eskay Creek. The agreement provides greater certainty and framework for the environmental assessment of the revitalisation of the past-producing Eskay Creek mine. Obtaining legal consent from the Tahltan Nation on the authorisation issued by the Province of B.C., an integral part of Skeena’s ESG strategy, addresses the question of project authorisation on unceded Indigenous land. It will further strengthen Skeena’s relationship with the Tahltan Nation and the Nation’s support for the project.

Justin Himmelright, Skeena's Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability, said: “As an already developed mine site with existing road access, waste management facilities, nearby access to green power, and robust economics, gaining consent from the Tahltan Nation on whose unceded land Eskay Creek is located, is a crucial step in an efficient approval process for the project. It also provides certainty of the Tahltan Nation’s legal authorisation to revitalise Eskay Creek. We look forward to working with our Tahltan partners and the governments of British Columbia and Canada to bring this iconic project back into production.”

“Today marks an exciting step forward in the evolution of the relationship between the Tahltan Nation and the Province of B.C.,” added Chad Norman Day, Pres-ident of the Tahltan Central government. “Reconciliation is not achieved with just one step. It requires ongoing innovation, collaboration and leaning into discomfort. For the Tahltan people, strengthening and preserving our culture, values and independence is why we keep pushing forward on this journey. The Tahltan Central government has been clear on behalf of all Tahltan people that there will be no world-class mining jurisdiction in Tahltan Territory without robust Tahltan stewardship which must include world-class wildlife and fisheries management, strong environmental mitigation measures and recognition of our 1910 Declaration. The Tahltan Nation and the Province have a long journey ahead walking and living on the path to reconciliation and we look forward to building on our relationship together. I thank all of those who have worked on this historic agreement which better recognises Tahltan jurisdiction over our homelands. It has been generations in the making. Meduh.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, commented: “This agreement is the first consent-based agreement for decision-making ever to be negotiated under the Declaration Act. It is a tangible example of the Province’s commitment to changing our relationship with Indigenous peoples. Together, the Tahltan Central government and the Province are leading the way toward a new model for advancing free, prior and informed consent.”

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