Tahltan Nation signs benefits agreement with Silvertip mine owners

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The Tahltan Nation and the owners of the Silvertip mine in northern British Columbia, 90 kilometres southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, have signed an impact and benefit agreement.

The Tahltan Central Government says in a release it wants to implement the deal with Coeur Mining immediately.

"We have a shared vision of empowering Tahltan workers, entrepreneurs and companies while working together to mitigate the mine's impacts to our Tahltan territory, culture and values," said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan central government.

Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Central Government

The silver-lead-zinc mine suspended operations almost a year ago because of low lead and zinc prices. At the time, the company said mining would not likely resume until late this year.

Terry Smith, senior vice president and chief development officer for Chicago-based Coeur Mining, said the agreement will help with the process of re-starting operations.

"[It] lays the foundation for a strong partnership and shared benefits between Coeur Silvertip and the Tahltan Nation by aligning our interests across several key measures of success at Silvertip, including environmental protection, employment and economic opportunities.for surrounding First Nations communities," said Smith.

When operations were suspended last year, the mine had more than 160 employees.

In its most recent quarterly report, Coeur Silvertip stated it's been drilling on the site to determine the size of the silver-lead-zinc deposit. It's also looking at ways it can expand the capacity of the mill at the site.

The mine site is in the traditional territories of both the Tahltan Nation and the Kaska Dena Council which represents a number of Kaska First Nations in Yukon and northern B.C..

The company already has an agreement with the Kaska nations.