Shuswap natives won't back mine at Ruddock Creek

Secwepemc people issue 'sacred water declaration'

Sylvie Paillard / Kamloops Daily News
February 11, 2013 01:00 AM

Blind Bay resident Simon Brown looks over information on the Ruddock Creek mining project Monday during an open house at the Chase Community Hall.

Shuswap First Nation members are refusing to co-operate with mining project proponents for the upper Adams River watershed.

The Secwepemc people issued a "sacred water declaration" in conjunction with a gathering in Chase on Monday of opponents to the Ruddock Creek zinc/lead project.

"As Secwepemc, we will not accept any monies or incentives from these mining corporations wanting to mine within our Secwepeculecw boundaries," states the declaration.

The opposition is due to the project's location in the headwaters of the Adams River, which is surrounded by sensitive protected areas and is an important area for the Secwepemc indigenous economy.

Opponents say it's also a question of the cumulative impact with Ruddock Creek arriving on the heels of the Highland Valley mine, the Harper Creek mine, the New Afton mine, now under construction, and the proposed Ajax mine.

"The proposed Ruddock Creek project, as well as, the other proposed and existing mining projects in Secwepemculecw, unsurrendered, unceded Secwepemc territory, is a violation against our existing Secwepemc and natural laws, in that our water, sacred headwaters and birthing waters is at risk of being destroyed forever," states the declaration.

Concerned residents gathering in Chase on Monday discussed the mine's potential impact on drinking water and the world-famous Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run.

The open house featured Ramsey Hart from Mining Watch Canada.

Hart reviews mining projects through environmental assessments and provides technical and logistical support to communities affected by mineral exploration and mining projects.

A call to Selkirk Metals parent company Imperial Metals was not immediately returned on Monday.

The proponent has had a history of opposition from First Nations.

In summer 2011, the Adams Lake Indian Band erected a blockade on the road to the site east of Clearwater. They said proponents were not negotiating in earnest however after a meeting with managers, the band took down the blockade.

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