(Secwepemc women, youth and men, confront an Imperial Metals employee at the Ruddock Creek Mine site in this video from 2012. YouTube)
APTN National News
An Indigenous resistance group under the name of Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors burned a bridge connected to a proposed British Columbia zinc and lead mine owned by the mining company now trying to clean up the Mount Polley environmental disaster, APTN National News has independently confirmed.
Ts’ka7 Warriors issued a statement Wednesday taking responsibility for torching a bridge at the Ruddock Creek Mine operation, of which Imperial Metals is the majority owner.
“Ts’ka7 Warriors burn down Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek Mine Bridge,” said the statement. “With much discussion with Elders councils and around sacred fires and ceremonies, the Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors have acted out their collective responsibility and jurisdiction to and in the Ts’ka7 area by deactivating the Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek mine road.”
APTN National News has independently confirmed the bridge burning, but the extent of the damage remains unclear.
The Rudduck Creek Mine site, which sits about 155 kilometres northeast of Kamloops, B.C., is currently in an exploration and development phase. There are currently no workers at the remote mine site, which is shut for the season.
Imperial Metals owns 50 per cent of the project which is a joint venture with Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd. And Itochu Corporation.
An Imperial Metals official told APTN National News that company employees were travelling to the area to determine if the bridge was burned.
APTN National News contacted three area RCMP detachments and none had received any reports of the bridge burning.
The bridge was burned sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning and presents the opening salvo in what is expected to be escalating actions against Imperial Metals’ operations in the area, APTN National News has learned.
The Warrior’s statement referred to the Aug. 4 environmental disaster at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley Mine when the earthen tailings dam failed, spilling 24 million cubic metres of toxic tailings and water into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.
The statement also referred to an injunction Imperial Metals obtained against the Klabona Keepers, a group of Tahltan elders, who had been blocking access roads leading to the company’s Red Chris gold and copper mine.
“The absolute destruction and devastation of our Territory has never been answered for. No reparations have been made. Instead Imperial Metals continues to force through another mine in our Territory while criminalizing the Klabona Keepers of the Tahltan Nation also exerting their jurisdictional and withholding consent from the same company,” said the Warriors’ statement. “The genocidal displacement of the Secwepemc from their Homelands through starvation, fear and assimilation by the state and industry being acted out by Imperial Metals stops now… This is a warning to Imperial Metals Corporation: Leave our Lands and do not come back.”
Imperial Metals was handed an eviction notice from the Neskonlith Indian Band on Aug. 14. The band demanded Imperial Metals immediately abandon its Rudduck Creek mining operation.
“This claim area is located in the core of Secwepemc territory (Secwepemculecw), which is subject to Secwepemc Aboriginal Title. The Ruddock Creek Mining Operation is trespassing on Secwepemc Territory. It threatens some of the most important watersheds and salmon runs in Secwepemc territory, including the Adams River run, the world’s largest remaining sockeye salmon, which the Secwepemc People and Indigenous Peoples in the larger Fraser River watershed depend on for their livelihoods and economies,” said the eviction notice from Neskonlith. “The exploration activities and water discharges from the Ruddock Creek Mining operation have already violated Secwepemc Law and Aboriginal Title and Rights and have proceeded without the consent of the Secwepemc people.”