A new revenue-sharing agreement will enable the Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Lower Similkameen Indian Band to benefit from the Copper Mountain Mine, located southwest of Princeton.
Through an Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA), the two First Nations will receive a share of mineral tax revenues collected by the Province from Copper Mountain Mine. The agreement also contains a comprehensive consultation process that commits to working with the Bands for all potential future mining activity related to the ongoing operation of the Copper Mountain Mine.
The agreement is the fifth ECDA that the B.C. government has reached to help First Nations benefit from mining activity within their traditional territories. These agreements build on the BC Jobs Plan commitment to reach 10 new non-treaty agreements with First Nations by 2015. The Copper Mountain ECDA is the 13th non-treaty agreement the B.C. government has reached since the BC Jobs Plan launch.
The agreement also supports the B.C. Jobs Plan commitment to support existing jobs and create new jobs through the expansion of existing mines and the establishment of new mines.
The agreement will provide the Upper Similkameen and Lower Similkameen Indian Bands the resources to make community-based decisions regarding how they would like to achieve social and economic objectives, which include enhancing the well-being of their communities and citizens.
Upper Similkameen Indian Band Chief Charlotte Mitchell –
“Our Smelqmix and Syilx Chiefs and Councils have been petitioning the Province to share the wealth of the resources in our territories for a long time (on record since the time of Sir Wilfred Laurier 1910). We see this agreement as a small step in the right direction; it will be very beneficial to our Elders and children and our future generations. Many thanks to all of our people that had a part in getting us to this day.”
Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Robert Edward –
“Revenue sharing is the concept that our Ancestral Leaders agreed to in 1910 through the Sir Wilfred Laurier Memorial where revenues for resources would be shared on a Government to Government basis. The mineral tax represents a partial sharing of resource benefits to Indigenous Peoples in this area for resources where lands have never been given over, ceded or surrendered. As a cost of doing business, proponents will be expected to fulfil their obligation to contribute to indigenous peoples for the resources being extracted from portions of traditional territory in which they operate.”