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Press Release

AFN Welcomes Federal Decision: Encourages Sustainable Economic and Resource Development with First Nations

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould welcome the federal decision to not proceed with the Prosperity Mining Project at Tetzan Biny (Fish Lake) in BC.  

"I congratulate the federal government for doing the right thing here. With this decision, I encourage all parties to engage in respectful, constructive dialogue that will respect rights and maximize sustainable economic and resource development," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "We have many examples of successful partnerships between industry and First Nations that are creating jobs through sustainable projects and generating opportunity for all involved. I applaud the incredible efforts of the entire Tsilhqot'in National Government. The leadership has worked tirelessly to protect their lake, their territories and the future of their people. I was honoured to meet with them just two weeks ago in their beautiful territory and look forward to continuing to support their efforts in economic development for their communities and the region. " 

National Chief Atleo's comments come after this afternoon's announcement by federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice. 

"I am very pleased that Canada has respected the views of the federal Environmental Review Panel and the rights and way of life of the Tsilhqot'in people by declining to approve the Taseko Mines Ltd. application to build the Prosperity Mine. We continue to stand proudly behind the Tsilhqot'in National Government and congratulate them on their leadership," said BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. "Today, we must remember that First Nations are not opposed to mining or economic development and see the benefits in terms of growth and job creation in communities when it is done in a balanced way, however in this particular case the negative impacts of the mine far outweighed the potential gain. First Nations are keen to be full partners in discussions and dialogue on proposals and decisions that involve our territories. We want to ensure our rights, citizens and future generations are protected."

During a national press conference in Ottawa September 2, the AFN and First Nation leadership from across BC stood with Chief Marilyn Baptiste and other Tsilhqot'in leaders as they urged the federal government to heed the cautions of an independent panel of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The panel reported the mine would negatively impact fish habitat, local wildlife, navigation and traditional land use, devastating the surrounding environment at Fish Lake and permanently threatening the rich heritage of the territories of the Tsilhqot'in Nation.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

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