NEWS

Imperial Metals granted interim injunction, Red Chris protesters celebrate

10/09/2014 08:44 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST
A B.C. mining company has been granted a temporary injunction against a group of First Nations who have been blocking access to a mining project south of Dease Lake, but protesters are claiming victory for themselves.

A group calling itself the Klabona Keepers began blockading the road into the Red Chris mine development in mid-August.

The group of Tahltan elders said they were worried about the possible impacts of the gold and copper project on their community after the tailings pond at another mine site run by the same company failed this summer.

When the earthen wall of the Mount Polley tailings pond failed on Aug. 4, 25 million cubic metres of water and waste spilled into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.

The company, Imperial Metals, asked the courts for an injunction to force the group to stop its protest.

On Wednesday, the courts agreed, but ruled the injunction would be only temporary and that it couldn't be enforced until Oct. 14.

Rhoda Quock, spokeswoman for the Klabona Keepers, called it an incredible victory, not only for those blockading, but for all indigenous nations facing similar situations.

"Everyone's just very happy, even though we still have to go to court yet, but it's still a win," she said. "The enforcement order wasn't granted. Before, when companies do that, they get granted the injunction and the enforcement order."

The court also ordered that the case must now be heard in Terrace, which will allow elders and youth to attend and prepare for the hearing, Quock said.

No one from Imperial Mines could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Google Maps: Approximate centre of Red Chris mine property

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