Artemis Gold, the Vancouver mining company building the Blackwater gold and silver mine southwest of Prince George, is working with area First Nations to secure and protect 11,000 hectares of caribou habitat from any industrial activity.
Over the next 50 years, Artemis will also provide more than $2.7 million to fund a project led by the Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation to restore 300 km of roads and 271 ha of land impacted by logging cutblock operations.
“It is a privilege to partner and work with the Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation, the Ulkatcho First Nation, and the provincial and federal governments on a plan that will help accommodate the growth and rehabilitation of the Tweedsmuir herd,” said Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO of Artemis Gold Inc. “We support the Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation in their plans to lead this important work, and view the provincial and federal government support for this initiative as a meaningful step towards reconciliation.”
The mine is located at the eastern edge of the Tweedsmuir caribou range. The caribou habitat is at Capoose Mountain in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, a high-elevation ungulate winter range that supports the area’s herd.
“Success to me is protecting the herd and also increasing the herd population,” said Ulkatcho chief Lynda Price. “ I really believe what’s important is we have our plans in place and we have our own conservation officers to monitor our plan.”
The agreement to protect caribou habitat was part of the environmental assessment process needed for Artemis to secure a Mines Act permit for the mine.
The groundbreaking plan marks the first time there’s been a collaboration to secure mineral tenures over time which involves a company, the provincial government and area First Nations to ensure preservation and maintenance of caribou habitat, a mandatory commitment specified in the province’s Environment and Land Use Act.