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British Columbia reaches deal with more First Nations on resource management

FILE PHOTO: British Columbia’s next premier, David Eby, speaks in Vancouver

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The western Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.) on Friday announced a deal with four Indigenous First Nations to collaborate on land planning and managing the impacts of industrialization.

The deal with the Fort Nelson, Saulteau, Halfway River and Doig River First Nations, whose territories lie in the northeast of the province, comes days after another land use agreement with the nearby Blueberry River First Nations that is expected to restart stalled development in the Montney shale gas play.

The B.C. government and a number of First Nations have been negotiating since 2021, when the B.C. Supreme Court ruled decades of natural resource extraction and industrial development had infringed on indigenous rights.

Friday's deal includes a "consensus document" to manage land, wildlife and restoration in the area. It also contains a new revenue-sharing approach to support First Nations communities, similar to the ones agreed with Blueberry River.

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However, other aspects of the Blueberry River agreement, such as an annual cap on land that can be disturbed for oil and gas development, were not included.

"Doig River First Nation has been advocating for a meaningful role in decision-making in natural resource development in our territory for many years and we are looking forward to working with the province in the months ahead to make this a reality," Chief Trevor Makadahay of the Doig River First Nation said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Nia Williams; Editing by Josie Kao)