Category: Mining

Heading for Mount Polley

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

From the best to the worst BC Day ever
This year on BC Day, I was off paddling near Tofino, camping in Ahous Bay, one of my favourite places in the world. The weather was fantastic, and we caught a glimpse of a wolf when we arrived—a sure sign you’re in the wild. The beach we camped on has a great view of Catface Mountain, traditionally known by Ahousaht First Nations as čitaapii. Catface can be seen from the Whiskey Dock in downtown Tofino (pictured below). Continue reading

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Gold stays in the ground

Long live Fish Lake!

By Joe Foy, Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director

A couple of weeks ago our office at the Wilderness Committee had erupted in a rising babble of excited disbelief. All around me people were frantically logging on to their computers to get confirmation of some seemingly impossible news.

Our federal Environment Minister, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, had announced Continue reading

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more precious than gold

More precious than gold

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (TFN) continue to oppose proposed exploration for gold in the Tranquil Valley Tribal Park. Last August Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals (owned by Imperial Metals Corporation) was granted a permit despite opposition from TFN. The Tla-o-qui-aht are not satisfied with the level of consultation by the company and the BC government. Continue reading

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Sacred Headwaters

Beyond Boarding in the Sacred Headwaters

23 year old Tamo Campos grew up in North Vancouver. A sponsored snowboarder who chased winter for the last 12 years, he’s now putting roots into both environmental and humanitarian work.  This led him to cofound Beyond Boarding, to spread awareness in the Continue reading

Big Black Bear

Tranquil Creek divine

Tyson Cross is a volunteer member of Clayoquot Action’s Salmon Virus Sampling Team. He lives and works in Tofino, and took the photo above.

The day prior to departing on this excursion to help monitor wild salmon, I watched a short film clip of Robert Bateman. He said “Think of a place that really means something to you deep in your heart.” He fears that if he were to ask young people this question they won’t have that place, it’s just not there. If people have no contact with nature, not only nature but also humanity will have a very gloomy future. However, one can’t despair—take action, it’s useful!

Tranquil Tribal Park—could a name say more? Most simply, the Tranquil is just something that needs to be experienced. Follow the inlet to the mouth of the creek. Follow Tranquil Creek just a little further in, and you will experience one of those moments that lasts a lifetime. Continue reading

Map of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks in Clayoquot Sound.

Gold exploration permit approved

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is angered to learn that plans to begin gold mining exploration in the Tranquil Tribal Park in Clayoquot Sound took a significant step forward last week. A letter was sent to the BC Minister of Energy and Mines from a Senior Mines Inspector recommending approval for a permit to conduct exploratory drilling at the long-abandoned Fandora mine site.

The Tla-o-qui-aht oppose mining in their territory and are not satisfied with the level of consultation by the company, Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals (owned by Imperial Metals Corporation) and the BC government. The Nation was awaiting word on a meeting with the Minister, which they expected to happen in September.

The Tla-o-qui-aht have declared Tranquil Valley a Tribal Park, have been working to attract investors in a conservation model, and aspire to build a salmon hatchery and other sustainable projects. The mine does not fit the Tla-o-qui-aht vision of ecosystem management and resource stewardship. Continue reading

Rally outside Imperial Metals AGM May 2013

Imperial Metals AGM Rally!

A crowd of 50 rallied May 29th outside the prestigious Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver to voice their opposition to Imperial Metals’ proposal to build 2 mines in Clayoquot Sound.

“We are here to send Imperial a clear message that heavy mining activity is unacceptable in Clayoquot, and that environmental values and First Nations rights and concerns must be respected,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

Imperial Metals is a Vancouver-based mining company who acquired mineral rights in Clayoquot Sound in 2009. Their mine proposals in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve include the Catface Mountain open-pit copper mine in Ahousaht First Nations’ un-ceded territory, and the Fandora Gold mine in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations’ un-ceded territory.

The Fandora proposal involves re-activating an old gold mine in the Tranquil Valley that was closed back in the 60s. With gold prices so high, there is a global trend towards re-opening old mines. Imperial Metals is currently applying to drill up to 10 test holes, with an average depth of 500 metres.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations do not support mining in their territories and do not want any exploration done by Imperial. “Imperial Metals’ proposed gold mine at the Fandora site would have massive negative impacts on our Nuu-chah-nulth ways and our attempts to ensure the well-being of our Tla-o-qui-aht Peoples and our environment” said Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Councillor.

It is unthinkable that 20 years after the mass protests of 1993 that Imperial Metals is proposing two mines in Clayoquot Sound. These mines would damage the landscape and present a toxic risk to the salmon that feed the ancient forests—a toxic legacy that would endure for centuries.

The rally showed Imperial Metals shareholders that they will face massive public opposition to their plans to mine in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

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Clayoquot Sound sea kayakers in Tofino harbour. Sander Jain photo.

Introducing Clayoquot Action

Joe Foy, the Wilderness Committee’s National Campaign Director, has been the driving force behind many of their campaigns, including the Stein and Carmanah Valleys. Joe’s passion for the wild is inspired and informed by the thousands of hours he has spent exploring BC’s wild places.

There are few places on the planet that vibrate with an awe-inspiring abundance of life in the way that Clayoquot Sound does.

Moss-hung ancient forests grace the land, with some trees as tall as a skyscraper, as wide as your living room and as old as a European cathedral. Clayoquot’s many bays and inlets team with fish, seabirds and whales. Black bears roll rocks on the beaches, looking for tasty seafood snacks.

When European traders first sailed into Clayoquot Sound in the 18th century, Nuu-chah-nulth villages had already been there for many centuries.

Several decades ago, the Nuu-chah-nulth people launched a successful court challenge to prevent logging that threatened the forests of Meares Island. Around the same time the Tofino-based group Friends of Clayoquot Sound was formed to counter the push by multi-national logging companies who wanted to clearcut the region.

The 1990s saw the largest anti-logging protests in Canadian history happening in Clayoquot Sound.

Today, new threats stalk Clayoquot. Oil tanker traffic, salmon farms and industrial mine proposals threaten to undo the good work of generations of Clayoquot defenders.

But now, 20 years after Clayoquot Summer 1993, a new local group – Clayoquot Action – has been formed to help face these new challenges head on. Clayoquot Action’s founders, Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck, were key organizers of those 1990s protests. For the past 25 years they have lived in Clayoquot Sound as keen kayakers, naturalists and ecotourism operators. Dan and Bonny know that although environmental challenges are global by nature, the best place to bring about change is locally, at the community level.

Clayoquot Sound is such a special place. And with the help of Clayoquot Action – may it ever remain so.

Please support Clayoquot Action’s efforts generously through the giving of your time and/or donations.

For the wild…
Joe Foy
Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director