Rio Tinto returns traditional lands to the Cheslatta Nation

Rio Tinto returns traditional lands to the Cheslatta NationAfter a decade of discussion, Rio Tinto Alcan completed the transfer of sixty-three district lots, just over 11,000 acres of land, to the Cheslatta Carrier Nation in January 2012. The land transfer marks the conclusion of a long-standing issue between the company and the Cheslatta, and the beginning of a new cooperative relationship between Rio Tinto and the Cheslatta Nation. It will bring mutual economic and societal benefits for many years to come.

The relationship between Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto began almost 60 years ago when the company purchased land from the federal government to create a reservoir for its hydro-electric project in Kemano. As a result of the purchase, the Cheslatta were forced to surrender their land when the company built a series of dams on the headwaters of the Nechako River. Their relationship has, over the decades, gone from non-existent to productive and cooperative.

“We are most grateful for the hard work and dedication of former Cheslatta leaders and we also thank Rio Tinto Alcan for being a modern and progressive corporation that understands the significance of the land to the Cheslatta people. We are fully committed to continue working together,” said Cheslatta Chief Richard Peters.

“I am proud of the respectful and effective relationship that we have developed with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation. I am also proud that both parties demonstrated great patience, support and commitment to this process that allows us to recognize the past while opening a new door to a brighter future,” said Paul Henning, vice president, Strategic Projects, Western Canada for Rio Tinto.