Mike Stinson is Xatśūll’s new Mining Coordinator


Mike Stinson, previously the Natural Resource Coordinator for Xatśūll, has now taken on the role of Natural Resource Mining Coordinator.
“The Mining Coordinator position is one that we just developed and it’s dealing with all the big mines that we have, which we have quite a few of at the moment. We have Barkerville Gold Mines, Mount Polley, Gibraltar, Karus Mining and Spanish Mountain Gold and on top of that, we’re going to try and get a better handle on what’s going on with all the placer mining. There’s very little to no legislation on them right now, so we want to see better legislation made out for those placer mines. There are so many of them in the territory that they can do more damage than what the big mines are doing right now.”
The position is not limited to just mining but will apply to anything that requires ground breaking such as gravel pits and Enbridge as well.
The biggest thing about the position will be serving as a liaison between the community and the mining companies.
“In our community, we have some very passionate people about our land and the stewardship of our land. A key piece to that position of Mining Coordinator is making sure emphasis is getting across to the mines that it’s not just extraction, it’s the longevity of the earth that we’re worried about and the quality of the water. What we’re seeing from the mines is inadequate and we want to see it better and bring it up to a standard where a person could walk up and not be shy of taking a drink of the water that’s coming out.”
There’s a need to look at it from both sides of the picture because while there are some members who don’t like mining that much, there are also members who work for the mining companies, he says.
Stinson has dealt with the mining companies before in his role as Natural Resource Coordinator and has previously worked as a miner, though he emphasizes that this is quite different from that. He’ll be dealing with permitting, dealing with and minimizing mistakes, ensuring they’re complying with their permits and that they’re keeping up with reclamation.
“The one thing I reiterate all the time is, ‘you may only mine for 15 years but our community and our territory has to put up with the scar that’s put there for the rest of time. So we’re trying to make sure that that rest of time is a smooth ride and that the reclamation is being done adequately. And, we’re not just looking at regular reclamation; we want to see the traditional plants that were there put back in.”
Stinson says the worry is not so much for right now but for the generations coming behind.
“What burden are we leaving them? We want to see that burden be as little as possible.”
He’s looking forward to engaging with the community, noting that the first community meeting will be coming up with Barkerville Gold Mine (BGM) in mid-November. He emphasizes he will be there as a facilitator only.