When the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation’s (SSN) request for an Independent Review Panel of the project was denied in 2015, the Nation courageously undertook a historic, 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 experts and knowledge keepers shared their findings and over 300 submissions were filed.
In March 2017, the 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 assessment concluded that the mine would negatively impact 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 two months of SSN’s announcement, more than 30 allied 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.