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Taku River Tlingit First Nation, British Columbia

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Plans for a British Columbia mine, 40 miles northeast of Juneau, were dealt a potentially fatal blow June 28 when a provincial court ruled in favor of the tribe's claim the province was wrong to certify the $100 million project. "Everything has become null and void," said John Ward, spokesman for the nation in Atlin. The suit claimed the Environmental Assessment Review of the Tulsequah Chief mine and a 100-mile access road was flawed and the project could damage the tribe's territorial hunting and fishing grounds. Messages left with Redfern Resources Ltd. of Vancouver were not returned. Redfern estimated it would produce 56,000 ounces of gold, along with silver, lead and zinc, and support 600 full-time jobs for at least a decade. The company planned to build a road from the mine site to Atlin, B.C., then carry the ore to Skagway to be loaded on barges. Environmental and Native groups, along with federal and state officials in the United States, challenged the plan, saying the mine could threaten the rivers' water quality and salmon habitat. The glacier-fed Taku is home to five species of Pacific salmon and is important for both U.S. and Canadian commercial and sport fishing.