For six weeks, the Tahltan First Nation and supporters have camped out in the rain and cold on Mount Klappan in northwestern B.C. to prevent a London, Ontario-based junior mining company from test-drilling for coal in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters.
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The company plans to build a 40-square-kilometre open-pit anthracite coal mine on Mount Klappan, close to the birthplace of three great salmon rivers on the continent: the Skeena, Nass and Stikine.
The Tahltan oppose any such development and want to see the Sacred Headwaters protected for its irreplaceable ecological values, such as habitat for threatened caribou and grizzly bears, and for its significance to their rich culture, traditions and spirituality.
On September 23, Fortune Minerals announced it is pulling out of the Sacred Headwaters for the time being, in response to growing opposition to the company's plans, which included an article by David Suzuki in support of the Tahltans.
Tahltan elders were also gearing up to put their bodies on the line, in the spirit of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, with acts of non-violent civil disobedience to protect the Sacred Headwaters.
Thanks to the resistance by the Tahltan First Nation, the Sacred Headwaters is safe, for now. However, while Fortune Minerals has pulled out its people and machines from Mount Klappan, company officials have told the media they have no intention of abandoning plans to build an open-pit coal mine.
This leaves the fate of this irreplaceable boreal wilderness area in the hands of the B.C. government, which has committed to holding talks with the Tahltans.
The David Suzuki Foundation congratulates the Tahltan First Nation and its supporters for this courageous stand to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of the Sacred Headwaters. We urge the B.C. government to move quickly to protect this global gem. You can send your own message to the B.C. government in support of the Tahltan First Nation by signing a petition at http://skeenawatershed.com/getinvolved/article/petition_fortune_minerals.