Tahtlan Inks Key Consent-Based Agreement With Red Chris Mine

November 9, 2023


SMITHERSTahltan Central Government and the provincial government have entered into a co-government, consent-based decision-making agreement regarding the future operation of the Red Chris copper-gold mine approximately 80 kilmetres south of Dease Lake and 600 km north of Smithers.

The mine is owned and operated by Red Chris Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperials Metal, which is a joint venture which is owned 70% by Newcrest Mining Limited and 30% by Imperial Metals Corporation, in which Newcrest is the operator.

Construction of Red Chris mine started in May 2012 and was completed in 2014. Commercial production began July 1, 2015, and the estimated life of the mine is 28 years.

The agreement was signed in a ceremony on Nov. 1 by Tahltan Central Government President Chad Norman Day, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin, and was witnessed by Iskut Band Chief Marie Quock, Tahltan Band Chief Carmen McPhee, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne and Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen.

“Today, the Tahltan Nation and the Province of British Columbia have made history by forging a consent-based decision-making agreement, marking a significant milestone on our path towards reconciliation,” Day said. “This agreement acknowledges and respects Tahltan title, rights and jurisdiction. It is a long-overdue step forward in our evolving co-governance relationship. “It sets a precedent and signifies the importance of real consent in project amendments. With this agreement, we ensure that amendments involving substantial changes to Red Chris can only proceed with our consent, highlighting our commitment to environmental stewardship and a sustainable future. Reconciliation and economic development can indeed coexist, guided by strong environmental, social and governance standards, as envisioned by the Tahltan people. Through consent-based decision-making, we can protect our environment for generations to come, while creating a clear regulatory path forward for all stakeholders.”


The agreement outlines consent-based decision-making for the review of any substantial changes proposed by the mine operator to the Red Chris mine 2005 environmental assessment certificate.

The agreement respects and recognizes Tahltan title, rights and inherent jurisdictional decision-making authority for land-management decisions for the Red Chris mine.

Under the agreement, Tahltan and the provincial Environmental Assessment Office will collaboratively carry out their own assessment processes to inform their separate decisions on whether any proposed substantial change to the existing environmental-assessment certificate should be approved, including those required to transition Red Chris from open-pit to underground block cave mining. These amendments cannot proceed without Tahltan consent.

“The signing of the Declaration Act Consent Decision-Making Agreement for Red Chris Porphyry Copper-Gold Mine project is a landmark moment, demonstrating true partnership in decision-making,” says Ben Wither, vice president, health, safety, environment and permitting for Newcrest in Western Canada. “We are proud to be part of a collaboration that sees industry and the B.C. provincial government acknowledging the rights and title of the Tahltan Nation. Inclusive decision-making like this is how we will achieve prosperous and sustainable projects for generations.”

Michael Goehring, president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia, states: “This consent agreement between the Tahltan Central Government and the Province is an important milestone that will advance reconciliation and support the environmental-assessment process for proposed changes to the Red Chris mine. MABC congratulates the Tahltan Nation on reaching this agreement. Full First Nations participation in environmental assessment and permitting processes are essential for the timely and responsible development of our province’s critical mineral resources.”

Business Examiner Staff

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