OPEN LETTER: UBCIC Supports SSN Rejection of the KGHM Ajax Mine.

First Nations Leaders

April 06, 2017

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Via email:;

Via facsimile: (613) 641-6900


Honourable Catherine McKenna

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change Canada

200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard

Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3

Via email:

Via facsimile: (819) 938-9431


Honourable Christy Clark

Premier of British Columbia

Parliament Buildings

Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Via email:

Via facsimile: (250) 387-0087


OPEN LETTER: UBCIC Supports SSN Rejection of the KGHM Ajax Mine.

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Clark and Minister McKenna,


On Saturday, March 04, 2017, the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN), following their SSN comprehensive review process, with the full involvement of community members, released their decision to withhold its free prior and informed consent to the KGHM Ajax mine project.


The KGHM Ajax project is a proposed copper and gold open-pit mine located in Secwepemc Nation territory at a culturally significant site known as Pípsell (Jacko Lake and the surrounding area), near Kamloops, BC. SSN has never ceded, surrendered or given up any of their lands or interests. They uphold their sacred responsibility to protect and assert jurisdiction over their territory.


Given the glaring shortcomings of the Canadian Environmental Assessment and BC Environmental Assessment processes, SSN was required to undertake a precedent setting and historic project assessment and review process for the proposed KGHM Ajax open-pit mine. The assessment was developed to ensure that their cultural perspectives, knowledge and history were duly considered in the assessment process.


The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, fully endorsed without qualification by the Canadian Government, states:

Article 26 (1): Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.

Article 26 (2): Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.

Article 27: States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to Indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of Indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 32 (2): States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

The SSN project assessment process, in alignment with the provisions of the UN Declaration, and necessitated by BC and Canada’s failures to address the concerns of First Nations, has rejected the KGHM Ajax Mine Project to prioritize the health of their community members and their neighbours in Kamloops and the surrounding area. The decision was made in accordance with Secwépemc’s laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, supported by the evidence and assessments as presented in the Pípsell Report and the SSN Panel Recommendations Report.

The UBCIC calls upon the governments of BC and Canada to respect and support this decision and to support the SSN precedent setting project assessment process. The UBCIC demands that the Federal Government undertake discussion on a nation-to-nation basis to ensure the SSN is fully involved in the decision-making process.

Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation’s decision to preserve and sustain Pípsell is for the long-term benefit of all Canadians.



Grand Chief Stewart Phillip                  Chief Robert Chamberlin                      Kukpi7 Judy Wilson

President                                              Vice-President                                      Secretary-Treasurer

CC:      Prime Minister Beata Szydło, Poland