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B.C. First Nation says unique deal gives it veto power over proposed coal mine

A British Columbia First Nation is celebrating a deal with a coal company that it says gives it veto power over a proposed mine on its land.

Chief Heidi Gravelle of the Tobacco Plains First Nation in southeast B.C. says the agreement with NWP Coal sets the band up as both regulator and reviewer of the project, with the right to turn it down. 

She says the deal gives the band unprecedented involvement in assessing and reviewing the project, which would be located near Sparwood, B.C.

Gravelle says she hopes the process will become a model for how future resource projects on Indigenous lands will be regulated.

On its website, the company calls the deal a new era of relationship-building.

Gravelle credits the company, based in New Zealand and Australia, with coming directly to the band to discuss the proposal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press