Signing the memorandum. Photo courtesy Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project

Signing the memorandum. Photo courtesy Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project

Yaq’it?a·knuqi ‘it to act as regulator and reviewer of the Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project

Late last December Yaq’it?a·knuqi ‘it (Tobacco Plains Indian Band or YQT) declared their intention to enter into what was called a “groundbreaking partnership with North Coal and Pacific Road Capital to develop a coal project near Sparwood, the Michel Project. That project is a metallurgical coal project.

This week it was announced that YQT has signed an Environmental Assessment Process and Consent Agreement with NWP Coal Canada Ltd. for NWP’s proposed Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project.

The Crown Mountain Project is a steel making coal project.

Under the Agreement, YQT will act as a regulator and reviewer of the Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project, and in so doing will fully engage in the Environmental Assessment of the Project for the purpose of providing or withholding free, prior, informed consent to the project following completion of the Environmental Assessment.

NWP’s Crown Mountain Coking Coal project is located near Sparwood, BC, within ?akanuxunik’?amak?is in the East Kootenay region. These are the unceded ancestral lands of YQT over which YQT declares and exercises its inherent and Section 35 aboriginal rights and title.

It is anticipated the Crown Mountain project will start production in 2026. NWP has committed to accelerated reclamation initiatives, best price environmental design, management and monitoring to ensure protection of flora, fauna and water quality in the Elk Valley.

“This is a huge step in the new era for natural resource development in British Columbia,” said Michael Grey, President of NWP. “NWP is committed to designing and operating a better project which includes learning from the past, building environmental controls into the project from the beginning, and taking direction from Indigenous Nations. Having support and a strongly built relationship with YQT throughout the process and timelines of the project ensures that NWP will understand the impacts of the project on Indigenous Nations in natural resource development.”

“Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it is very pleased to see NWP committing to a consent-based environmental assessment for the project. For too long, Indigenous Nations have not been brought to the table in decision-making directly affecting our rights and interests,” said Nasu?Kin (Chief) Heidi Gravelle. “We look forward to working with NWP and the regulator as we exercise our full seat at the table as a decision maker in our own territories.”