August 29, 2023

(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (BCFNEMC) and the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) urgently call on the British Columbia government to immediately impose a moratorium on placer mining claims and leases as highlighted in a recently released report prepared for the FNEMC. The report titled, “The Need for a Moratorium on Placer Mining Claims and Leases,” is critical of the outdated and inadequately regulated placer mining system, emphasizing the substantial adverse effects on the environment, First Nations’ rights and the well-being of communities.

The regulation of placer mining, which involves the extraction of minerals such as gold from riverbeds and streams, has not been modernized and remains rooted in nineteenth-century gold rush laws and policies that ignore Indigenous rights and continue to fail to mitigate serious environmental harms. The situation is dire as the current drought and stresses on water systems throughout BC contribute to the urgency and need for the moratorium. The cumulative impacts of placer mining on watersheds, biodiversity and First Nations traditional territories are devastating to ecosystems and human health and well-being.