Mining Threats to BC’s Emerging Salmon Habitats – New Study

December 4, 2023

As glaciers in British Columbia continue to retreat due to climate change, new salmon habitats are emerging. Yet, as a recent scientific study highlights, these same areas are increasingly becoming targets for mining claims.

The study, the result of a collaboration between academic and First Nations researchers, is a stark reminder of the need for mining reform in BC. Mining should not come at the cost of the long-term health of our environment and the species that depend on it. 

Salmon are a crucial part of our ecosystem; and they are deeply intertwined with the cultural and economic fabric of our province. The emergence of new salmon habitats as glaciers retreat should be a beacon of hope for sustaining biodiversity. However, the rush to stake mining claims in these areas threatens to undermine this potential ecological boon.

The findings of the study should be taken as a call to action. Naxginkw Tara Marsden, a co-author of the study, told the CBC that mining reform “can’t come soon enough. The Mineral Tenure Act not only violates Indigenous rights but also undermines stewardship of ecosystems for future generations.”

BCMLR has been advocating for changes to mineral staking for years and will be finding ways to engage in its law reform to better protect ecosystems, including emerging salmon habitats.

Featured image: Meziadin Lake: A Vital Ecosystem within the Gitanyow Declared Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) in Northern BC (Photo Credit: Nikki Skuce)