Gitanyow Nation is assessing Skeena Resources Limited under its Wilp Sustainability Assessment Process (WSAP) as the mining exploration company looks at reviewing the transportation route to its Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.
In December 2020, Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs launched the Pilot Program for the WSAP, which is a Gitanyow Nation led assessment for major projects proposed within or affecting the Gitanyow Lax’yip (Territory).
The WSAP is the culmination of approximately three years of work developing a process that upholds Gitanyow rights and title, and sustainability principles of gwlex ye’enst and ensures free, prior and informed consent (nidinskw) for any projects affecting Gitanyow rights and title.
Skeena Resources began working with the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs office on developing a WSAP for the transportation route to the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project in February 2022, said the company in a Jan. 17 joint statement.
The Eskay Creek Revitalization project is the first project to be assessed under the WSAP Pilot Program with the Gitanyow Nation.
The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office and Skeena Resources signed an Initial Engagement and Project Assessment Agreement in September 2022. Since then, a funding and capacity agreement has also been signed and relationship building is ongoing.
A January 13th gathering between Gitanyow Chiefs and Skeena representatives marks the official launch of Skeena Resources entering the Gitanyow Nation WSAP.
The WSAP will run parallel with the hybrid Provincial and Tahltan Central Government environmental assessment process, and the assessment under Chapter 10 of the Nisga’a Final Agreement for the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.
“We the Gitanyow people will work with and welcome others who want to ensure sustainable development in the Lax’yip,” said Glen Williams/Malii, President and Chief Negotiator.
“We are not going anywhere; we cannot sever our connection to the Lax’yip and the protection of all resources therein. We are pleased that Skeena is entering into our Wilp Sustainability Assessment Process and is taking concerns over the impacts of industrial traffic along Highway 37 seriously, as well as our concerns regarding GHG emissions and climate impacts,” he added.
Skeena Resources’ director of community relations Freda Campbell said the company is excited to be the first company to collaborate and participate in the Gitanyow Nation’s WSAP Pilot Project.
“We are pleased to be working with the Gitanyow Chiefs, Tara Marsden, and the rest of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office. We look forward to continuing to build strong relationships with all our First Nation partners,” Campbell added.