Pavilion, B.C. (July 27, 2006) -- A sacred ceremony was held today to honor the mountain that provides Graymont Western Canada Inc. with the ability to produce some of North America’s highest quality lime.
The Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation members and their neighbours gathered in an arbour at the foot of the mountain to make an “offering to the spirit of the mountain”. Graymont’s plant is located on Ts’kw’aylaxw lands, between Cache Creek and Lillooet.
An agreement signed recently between the Ts’kw’aylaxw and Graymont was the first of its kind under new legislation that allows first nations to negotiate with mining companies, independent of federal government assistance or support. The majority of plant employees are Ts’kw’aylaxw people. The company payroll, royalties and rent inject well over $2 million into the community economy every year.
The colorful, spiritual ceremony was followed by a traditional feast of salmon and venison and an official unveiling of the company’s new plant sign that incorporates the relationship between the Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation and Graymont.
The company also provided guided tours of the base of the mountain and the plant itself so that everyone could see first hand how lime is made from the limestone in the mountain.
Matilda Fenton, spiritual leader for the ceremony and a first nation council member, said her people are keepers of mother earth and the ceremony was held to make an offering to the mountain for what it is providing to society.
Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation Chief Cliff Alec told those who attended the ceremony that the plant has been operating for 30 years and the first nation has just signed a long term lease to operate on the mountain.
“Some of our people want to see a healing of the mountain so that we can all move forward. That is what the ceremony will allow us to do,” he said.
Graymont President and CEO Stuart Wolfe told those at the ceremony that the company plans to be at Pavilion well into the future.
“It is only fitting that we all share in making this offering to the Spirit of the Mountain. The mountain offers us limestone of the highest purity and quality and we at Graymont thank the Ts’kw’aylaxw People for allowing us to share the mountain,” he said. “We are proud of the relationship that we have developed together with the Ts’kw’aylaxw People.”
Graymont is a privately owned company and is the third largest lime producer in North America with 15 plants in Canada and the United States. The Pavilion plant has been in operation since 1974 and has an annual lime production capacity of 235,000 tonne. Lime is used in the production of materials people touch every day, including paper, leather, gold, copper, aluminum, steel, asphalt, sugar and is used for water purification and sewage treatment.
For more information, please contact Al Lucas at 1-250-457-6291