Elko is located in traditional First Nations territory, specifically both the Ktunaxa and Shuswap bands claim traditional use. PAC Canada has been in contact with these organizations and has established a policy of close cooperation and communication as the project moves forward. First Nations are intimately involved in the mine permitting process through the referral and consultation routines established between First Nations and provincial government. It is incumbent on the province, and in turn PAC Canada, to understand and address the issues brought forth by First Nations.
In addition to First Nations, there are governmental and private entities that have certain interests with respect to land use, and can be expected to participate in the permitting process through referral and comment. Such entities include, but are not limited to, local governing authorities and special use organizations such as recreational clubs and hunters.
There are several communities surrounding the Project area include Elko, Jaffray, Baynes Lake, Fernie, and Sparwood all in BC and Coleman, Blairmore, and Bellevue in Alberta. The largest of these communities is the City of Fernie, with a population of 5,249, located on Highway 3. The community was founded in 1898 and based on an economy of natural resource extraction, primarily coal mining and forestry.
Additionally, the Tobacco Plains Indian Reserve #2 is located within the Regional Study Area. The Tobacco Plains Indian Band is part of the Ktunaxa Nation and located in Grasmere BC, about 35 km southwest of the coal licence area, extending to the BC-Montana border. There are approximately 160 members of the Tobacco Plains Indian Band