A protest by Tahltan elders in the Sacred Headwaters region in northern British Columbia has escalated, with a group shutting down a coal drilling rig operated by Fortune Minerals Ltd.

"Protesters did approach one of the drills and basically because they got too close for safety purposes, the shift ended early," said Troy Nazarewicz, head of investor relations for Fortune Minerals. "We will re-start activities as soon as it's safe to do so."

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