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Joanne Phillips, Xatsull Member and Gibraltar Environmental Monitor, key traditional knowledge educator for Gibraltar’s reclamation program.
Traditional Knowledge used to strengthen Gibraltar’s Reclamation Program
January 17, 2022
For nearly 10 years, Taseko’s Gibraltar mine and Xatśūll First Nation, located 35 km north of Williams Lake, have partnered on progressive reclamation programs. Over the course of the program, Gibraltar has incorporated the traditional knowledge of Xatśūll First Nation to establish and grow native species on the mine site.
Traditional plants, shrubs, and berries have been incorporated into the early stages of Gibraltar’s progressive reclamation program, allowing these species to establish and flourish, so they are available for local Indigenous communities to harvest upon closure. Species such as Kinnikinnick, Soopolallie, Trembling Aspen, Silverberry, and Saskatoon were selected for their traditional or medicinal use properties. Over 102 hectares at the Gibraltar mine site has been reclaimed with traditional species to date.
Since the program began, Gibraltar’s Environmental group has built a strong, positive relationship with Xatśūll First Nation. In particular, Joanne Phillips, an original Xatśūll contractor from 2012, who is now a full-time employee of Gibraltar, has been instrumental in the program’s success and an inspiration for many. Four of her children have worked along side her reclaiming Gibraltar, establishing native species, and passing along generations of knowledge – a true family success story.
In addition, the collaborative partnership has provided work experience, and seasonal employment opportunities, to over 20 community members since the program began in 2012.
As demonstrated through this successful program, Taseko-Gibraltar remains dedicated to establishing and sustaining beneficial relationships with local stakeholders and Indigenous community members