Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Environmental Report Calls Proposed BC Mine Risky and Uncertain

A new report compiled by Salmon Beyond Borders and other groups, including Earthworks, says there are significant risks associated with a copper, gold, silver and molybdenum mine proposed in British Columbia near the Alaska border.

The risk analysis of the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine proposed by Toronto-based Seabridge Gold concludes that amount the key risks are unprecedented water management. KSM is a sulfide ore body, likely to require water treatment in perpetuity for acid mine drainage, the report said. The mine plan includes annual water treatment for up to 20.8 billion gallons of water annually- nearly eight times that of Utah’s Bingham Canyon Mine, the largest open pit mine in North America.

“The amount of water projected for water treatment is the largest of any mine that I have seen,” said David Chambers, a geophysicist and president of the Center for Science in Public Participation. “Based on the estimated treatment costs in the environmental impact statement, the trust fund for post-closure water treatment alone would need to e approximately $1 billion.

Plans for these and other mines in Northwest British Columbia are prompting concern from Alaska fish harvesters because the mines would be located near transboundary rivers in British Columbia that flow into Southeast Alaska’s salmon rich waters. Alaska’s congressional delegation has raised serious concerns about the KSM mine, and has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to conduct bilateral discussions with the Canadian government regarding the project. Other groups, including five municipal governments and 11 Alaska Native tribal governments, have asked for a review by the International Join Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty.

The KSM mine project would involve mining underneath an active glacier, an engineering challenge that has rarely been done, the environmental report said. In the few sites where it has occurred, it resulted in major increases in cost, production delays, safety issues and economic shortfalls.

Access the complete report:

FN Online Advertising