A ratification vote on Socio-economic Participation Agreement (SEPA) is anticipated to take place in the near future
The SEPA is an agreement between the Kaska Nation and Selwyn Chihong Mining. The objectives of the SEPA agreement are:
Ross River and Liard First Nation will hold a ratification vote in their communities on the SEPA on November 30, 2015. If the SEPA is approved by the Ross River and Liard First Nation, it means Kaska communities are giving Kaska consent for the Selwyn Project to be built and operated in return for the benefits outlined in the SEPA.
All five Kaska communities and Selwyn Chihong Mining are a Party to the SEPA. Ross River and Liard First Nation represented all five Kaska communities during the negotiation of the SEPA and will sign on behalf of Kaska Nation if the SEPA is approved by ratification vote in Ross River and Liard First Nation. The Kaska communities in BC will each pass a BCR giving permission to Ross River and Liard First Nation to sign the SEPA.
If the SEPA is approved and signed, Kaska will still be able to say anything they want to the government regulators about specific approvals Selwyn Chihong is seeking, but will not object to any permits or licenses that the government may issue to Selwyn Chihong.
The Kaska First Nation governments agree not to interfere with the Project and the activities that Selwyn Chihong will carry out. If Kaska Citizens interfere with the Project, then the Kaska leadership will work with Selwyn Chihong and the Kaska Citizens to try and resolve the issues.
If the ratification vote by Ross River and Liard First Nation does not approve the SEPA, the Selwyn Project will not go forward at this time.
The SEPA will not impact the 1870 Order Case that Kaska have in court against Canada nor any of the Aboriginal rights that Kaska hold.
The SEPA agreement covers the entire life of the mine including all closure and reclamation activities. At this time Selwyn Chihong is completing the planning for 11 years of mining. There is more planning to do and it is possible that mining could continue for twenty-five or more years. Closure of the mine and reclamation of the land will continue for many years after that.
The SEPA can be ended if both Parties agree or if one Party does not live up to certain of its obligations under the SEPA. The other situation that could cause the termination would be a major event (flooding, fire and earthquake, for example) that caused the mine to close for more than a year and Selwyn Chihong then decided to close the mine.
If the mine stops operations for a period of time but does not intend to close the mine, this is called Temporary Suspension. If Selwyn Chihong decides on a Temporary Suspension, they must advise Kaska of the reasons for the Temporary Suspension and ensure that Kaska employees are treated fairly if layoffs occur. If a Temporary Suspension lasts more than a year some payments under SEPA would be impacted.
Selwyn Chihong will follow all federal and provincial laws and all the commitments that are set out in the SEPA. These commitments recognize the strong relationship between Kaska people and their land.
Selwyn Chihong Mining has agreed to work closely with Kaska to reduce the negative impacts of the project on the lands, the waters, and the animal life to the greatest extent possible. The company has also agreed to work to ensure that Kaska use and enjoyment of these natural resources is not impacted by the project.
Information on the ratification vote can be found at your Band Office or at the Selwyn Chihong Community offices.
Information on the ratification vote can be found at your Band Office or at the Selwyn Chihong Community offices. You can also contact your Band Office for the full legal text of the SEPA. SEPA Information packages will be distributed in communities before the vote. You can also access this information online at www.selwynchihong.com/sepa.
Like us at facebook.com/theselwynproject to keep up to date on Project news. And send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through the website at www.selwynchihong.com/contact-us/. You can also call or visit the Selwyn Project’s community offices in Ross River and Watson Lake.