The Vancouver Sun reports in its Saturday edition that B.C. first nation leaders say the provincial government must reform mineral tenure laws that have allowed Imperial Metals to obtain mineral rights in a sensitive watershed without consideration of aboriginal claims. The Sun's Gordon Hoekstra writes that first nations' concerns have become heightened after the company, known for the collapse of its Mount Polley mine tailings dam in the B.C. Interior in 2014, applied to the B.C. Mines Ministry for an exploration permit to carry out work in the so-called "donut hole" area in the B.C. Interior where it holds mining tenures. Nearly 15 times the size of Stanley Park, the donut area is sandwiched between Skagit Valley and Manning provincial parks. Imperial Metals' mining permit is opposed by first nations on both sides of the border, including by the Neskonlith and Upper Similkameen in B.C. and the Lummi, Sauk-Suiattle, Swinomish and Upper Skagit tribes in Washington State. More than 120 others, including environmental and recreation groups, private companies such as Patagonia, and U.S. senators, are opposed. First nations say they are concerned any degradation of the watershed will affect salmon on the Skagit River.
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