When the federal review panel hearings take place at Alkali Lake on Tuesday, Aug. 20, the Esk’etemc (Alkali Lake) would like some of the information it presents kept confidential.
The federal review panel for the New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine announced Thursday it has received a request from the Esk’etemc to present oral and/or written evidence in confidence during the upcoming community hearing session respecting Esk’etemc’s treaty settlement and land (“TSL”) selections and concerns respecting adverse impacts to title and TSL and Esk’etemc’s specific claims area and traditional use knowledge and information respecting the location and nature of Esk’etemc’s sacred sites and burial grounds.
To maintain the confidentiality of the information, Esk’etemc has also asked the panel not to publicly post the information on the panel’s registry, and that only Secwepemc members and specific Taseko Mines Ltd. representatives who have signed a confidentiality undertaking be allowed to attend when that information is presented to the panel.
In addition, Esk’etemc requested the presentation of information be closed to the general public and interested parties, and be held in-camera and not reproduced in the audio or written transcripts posted on the public registry, and that the panel avoid site-specific reference to the areas identified by Esk’etemc in the panel’s report to the minister.
As outlined in Article 2.4 of the Procedures for Requesting Confidentiality, the panel is making the Esk’etemc request for confidentiality available for a short comment period.
Interested Parties are requested to provide any comments on the request for confidentiality by Aug.18 at 5:00 pm (Pacific Time).
Any comments should be submitted via email at: Newprosperityreview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca. The panel will then afford Esk’etemc the opportunity to respond to comments submitted. The Esk’etemc response to comments should be provided on Aug. 19.
After reviewing the comments received, the panel will determine whether the disclosure of the information could potentially result in harm to either the environment or to the Esk’etemc.
The panel’s decision on whether to grant the request will be announced at the start of the Aug. 20th hearing day in Alkali Lake.
During the panel hearings in Xeni Gwet’in last week, a similar request was granted by the panel.