The Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc
Nation (SSN) in British Columbia is ramping up its
#Me7ePipsellTa7aAjax (Yes Pípsell, No Ajax) campaign
and is calling on the public, friends and allies to press the
federal and provincial governments to respect SSN’s decision
not to give its free, prior, informed consent for the proposed
KHGM Ajax open-pit copper/gold mine in its territory.
With the support of MiningWatch Canada, SSN has launched a new
web site and online action, Protect Pípsell, where the
public can learn more about the cultural and ecological
significance of this area, and why it is now being threatened
by Polish-owned mining company KHGM. If approved, the project
would irreversibly destroy 1,700 hectares of unique and
fragile grasslands and waters on the edge of the City of
Kamloops, which include Jacko Lake and the Pípsell Cultural and
Sign on to support SSN’s decision here.
The B.C. Minister of Environment, George Heyman, has until
January 4, 2018 to make a final decision about this project.
His federal counterpart, Catherine McKenna, has no fixed time
limit to make her decision. The Ajax project has been jointly
reviewed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)
and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.
When SSN’s request for an independent panel review of the
project was denied by CEAA in favour of a less-intensive
Comprehensive Study process, SSN courageously undertook a
Indigenous-grounded assessment based in SSN laws,
traditions, customs, and knowledge.
Throughout, this comprehensive assessment integrated Western
and Indigenous knowledge. At the SSN Review oral panel hearing
in May 2016, more than 80 scientific experts and Secwepemc
knowledge keepers shared their findings and over 300
submissions were filed.
In March 2017, the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation
announced it would not give its free, prior and informed
consent (FPIC) for the proposed Ajax Project:
The Ajax Mine Project in its proposed location at Pípsell is
in opposition to the SSN land use objective for this
profoundly sacred, culturally important, and historically
significant cultural keystone site.
Our decision to preserve and sustain Pípsell and Jacko
Lake is for the long-term benefit of all Canadians, ensuring
the future enjoyment of this special place serves to further
reconciliation, so that we may all be great and good.
SSN’s review concluded that the mine would damage air
and water quality and irreversibly affect the Pípsell Cultural
and Heritage Area.
Experts also determined that the project was not viable under
current and predicted copper prices, and that it represented a
significant risk to investors, governments and the public.
Within weeks of SSN’s announcement, more than 30 organizations
in B.C. and across Canada
signed a declaration of support for the SSN’s review
process and decision.
The City of Kamloops also passed a motion in July 2017 to
officially oppose the project and reaffirmed its position in
August and October 2017.
Meanwhile, in August 2017,
CEAA and BCEAO
jointly concluded that the project would have irreversible and
significant adverse effects to SSN’s heritage and current use
of the lands and resources – but also concluded that the
project would not have significant adverse effects to the
These two conclusions are simply irreconcilable to the
Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc Nation.
Take Action Now
Many organizations have recently sent letters to the Ministers
but SSN needs your support now more than ever (see SSN’s letter
here, MiningWatch’s letter
here, and our 2-page summary of the issues
As the ministers weigh their final decision on the project, the
Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) is asking Indigenous
and non-Indigenous friends, neighbours, and supporters to call
on their MPs, MLAs and cabinet ministers:
- to deny any certificate to the proposed Ajax open pit mine;
- to work with SSN in protecting the Pípsell Cultural Area
for the benefit of all Canadians and future generations; and
- to reform the flawed and inadequate federal and provincial
environmental assessment laws and processes, in accord with the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
You can use this form on
send a brief letter to the federal minister of Environment and
Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and the B.C. minister of
Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, to urge
them to respect the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN)’s
refusal to grant its free, prior, informed consent for the
proposed Ajax open-pit copper/gold mine in its territory.
You can also call the Ministers or write your own letter
for a bigger impact. Contact:
Hon. George Heyman
Minister, Environment and Climate Change Strategy,
Government of British Columbia
P.O. Box 9047 Stn Pov Govt
Rm 112, Parliament Buildings
Victoria BC V8W 9E2
Tel: (250) 387-1187
Fax: (250) 387-1356
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3
Tel: (819) 938-3813
Fax: (819) 938-9431