A plan developed in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments, the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, the Ulkatcho First Nation and Artemis Gold Inc., will see 11,000 hectares secured for 50 years in central B.C. for caribou habitat. In addition, Artemis Gold Inc. will contribute more than $2.7 million in funding over time toward caribou habitat restoration initiatives as part of the company’s Caribou Mitigation and Monitoring plan.
Artemis owns the Blackwater Mine project, a gold and silver mine under construction that is located on the eastern edge of the Tweedsmuir caribou range. The population of Tweedsmuir caribou has dwindled over the past few decades due to several factors. The land securement is located in and around Capoose Mountain, adjoining Tweedsmuir Park, in a provincially designated high elevation ungulate winter range for caribou habitat with known recent and regular caribou use. The securement commits the company to not explore or develop its mineral tenures in the securement area. The ungulate winter range designation also precludes logging, effectively eliminating the potential for industrial activity in the area.
The funding component of the plan will be used for caribou habitat restoration initiatives led by the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation.The two Nations plan to collaborate with the provincial and federal governments to identify and implement priority caribou habitat restoration projects. The plan also commits the company to work closely with the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, the Ulkatcho First Nation and the federal and provincial governments on caribou monitoring initiatives throughout the region.
“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 development of the Caribou Mitigation and Monitoring plan is the first time a company, the provincial government and First Nations have collaborated to secure mineral tenures for a period of time in connection with caribou offsetting. It is also the first time an order under the Environment and Land Use Act has been used to ensure the preservation and maintenance of caribou habitat by securing mineral tenures.
“The recovery of endangered caribou herds is incredibly important, and the complex nature of this work requires deep partnership between the province, First Nations and industry,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “Artemis Gold’s decision to defer development in 11,000 hectares of critical habitat is a good example of what can be achieved when these partners work together in a respectful way that benefits both ecosystem health, caribou recovery and economic activity.”
“Our connection to the land, the water, the mountains and the Caribou are all very sacred. We truly believe the Caribou Mitigation and Monitoring plan we developed with Artemis Gold Inc, Ulkatcho First Nation and the federal and provincial governments is precedent setting, and we look forward to implementing the plans and seeing the Caribou flourish again,” Council, Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation.
“Working with Artemis Gold, Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, and the provincial and federal governments to address the decline in Caribou has been an important collaboration,” said Chief Lynda Price of the Ulkatcho First Nation. “There has always been a cultural connection between Caribou and the Ulkatcho First Nation, and we see success as protecting the Tweedsmuir and Itcha Ilgachuz herds and increasing our local herd populations.”