The province is paying $18.3 million to buy 61 licenses from Fortune Minerals Ltd. and POSCO Canada Ltd. in a region dubbed the Sacred Headwaters in northwest British Columbia. The area is important to the Tahltan Nation because the headwaters of three important salmon rivers — the Stikine, Skeena and Nass — are there. The companies will be able to buy back the assets at their original price if they reach an agreement with the Tahltan in the next 10 years.

Anthracite coal deposits that the companies want to mine are in an area within the Sacred Headwaters called the Klappan, which has been identified as having significant cultural significance to the First Nations community.