Williams Lake First Nations to get share of taxes from Mount Polley mine

Chief Ann Louie, Williams Lake Indian Band, and Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, sign the Mount Polley mine revenue-sharing agreement at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria

The B.C. government has completed revenue-sharing agreements with two First Nations in Williams Lake.

The deal will allow the Williams Lake Indian Band and Xatsull First Nation (also known as the Soda Creek Indian Band) to get a cut of tax money the province collects from an expansion of the Mount Polley mine, located east of Willams Lake. Williams Lake will receive 18.5% of the tax revenue, while Xatsull will get 16.5%.

On Tuesday, April 9, the government announced a similar agreement with two First Nations near Princeton, B.C. Under that arrangement, the Similkameen Indian Band and Lower Similkameen Indian Band will get 35% of the taxes the B.C. government collects on the Copper Mountain mine, which went into operation in June 2011.

The Mount Polley mine is operated by Imperial Metals. The company received a permit to expand the mine in 2011.

The agreements are part of the B.C. government’s plan to make economic development agreements with First Nations outside of the lengthy treaty process. Since 2011, the government has made 15 such agreements with B.C. First Nations.

By Jen St. Denis – Business in Vancouver

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