The Osoyoos Indian Band has signed a cooperation agreement for a proposed magnesium mine southwest of Rossland.
The Record Ridge project has been in the works by West High Yield (WHY) Resources for a number of years, causing no small amount of controversy with residents in nearby communities.
Residents voiced their concerns at open houses put on by WHY in May, leading to a number of promises from the company about the raised issues.
The Osoyoos Indian Band did their own independent review of WHY’s BC Mines Act permit application and negotiated with the company ahead of making the cooperation agreement.
“This Agreement recognizes Osoyoos Indian Band’s sovereignty over our lands and represents our continued efforts to ensure that our lands are protected and managed in accordance with our wishes, values, and principles,” said Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie in a press release. “This agreement assures us of our oversight of the project, thereby protecting our peoples’ environmental and economic interests.”
The project is located about 10 kilometres southwest of Rossland, and within the OIB’s asserted traditional territory.
The British Columbia Mine Development Review Committee is still overseeing the final technical permit review process for the project.
In July, WHY announced that it had proposed several strategies to the committee that would mitigate concerns shared at the May open houses.
Those concerns included using mechanized equipment for extraction in place of explosives, enclosed crushing equipment to manage dust and noise, and exploring an option to use a trucking route along Highway 22 instead of sending vehicles through Rossland.
The agreement signed with the OIB is part of WHY’s commitment towards advancing sustainability, sound environmental practices, good governance, and respecting Indigenous rights, the company stated in a press release.
“If managed correctly, this critical mineral resource could contribute to a strong and green economy,” said Louie. “To date, West High Yield has shown OIB that it is committed to doing this.”
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