A company conducting mining exploration for high-grade gold and silver on B.C.’s central coast was given an eviction order Monday, Aug. 16 by the Nuxalk Nation in the Bella Coola Valley.
Vancouver-based Juggernault Exploration has been test drilling at two sites within Nuxalk territory and did not receive consent from the Nuxalk, said Nuskmata (Jacinda Mack), appointed spokesperson for the Nuxalk Stataltmc.
“We issued the eviction notice on site in Hagensborg this morning to some of the contractors who were leaving for the day and we sent the letter to the head office of Juggernault in Vancouver and copies to various ministries in B.C. and to representatives of Canada.” Nuskmata told Black Press Media.
The company has been asked to leave by Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 11 p.m.
“They’ve been in and out of the valley doing the exploration for the last couple of years and last year our hereditary chiefs issued them a letter telling them they were not authorized to be in our territory, which they ignored.”
Black Press Media has reached out to Juggernault CEO Donald Stuart for comment.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petrolleum Resources said consultation between the Province and the Nuxalk Nation regarding the proposal took place in accordance with the Coastal First Nations Reconciliation Protocol to which Nuxalk Nation is a signatory.
The ministry confirmed Juggernaut Exploration Ltd. has been issued two separate permits.
Both permits are multi-year area based (MYAB) mineral exploration permits that authorize up to 49 drill sites with a cumulative site disturbance area not to exceed 0.49hectares.
All areas of disturbance are required to be reclaimed.
One permit (Gold Standard property) was issued November 13, 2020 and the other was issued February 25, 2021. Both are valid for a period of five years.
In March 2021, Juggernault announced it had its five-year advanced exploration permit for drilling its 100 per cent-controlled Goldstar and Goldstandard properties on the central coast.
“The GoldStandard property is situated in the central coastal region of British Columbia Canada, only four kilometres from major infrastructure and one km to tidewater and logging roads providing excellent, cost-effective exploration,” noted a news release on the Juggernault website.
Nuskmata said the Nuxalk are calling on the public for support in efforts to halt the mining exploration, adding support is coming from non-Nuxalk residents of the valley and the band council fully supports the hereditary chiefs speaking on behalf of the territory, she noted.
“It’s really about picking up our responsibilities to protect this place and it’s also about the fact we are living our ancestral governance.”
Recent glaciers melting due to climate change is presenting newly exposed areas all along the entire coast to mining interests, she said.
This article was updated on Tuesday, Aug. 16 with comments from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petrolleum Resources.