Local News

B.C. gives KSM mine environmental OK

A glacier reflects in a naturally occurring pool of rusty, acidic water at the site of one of the KSM Prospect's planned open-pit mines. B.C. officials just approved the mine's environmental plans. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

A glacier reflects in a naturally occurring pool of rusty, acidic water at the site of one of the KSM Prospect’s planned open-pit mines. B.C. officials just approved the mine’s environmental plans. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

A controversial mine planned for an area northeast of Ketchikan just won environmental approval from the British Columbia government.

Toronto-based Seabridge Gold was granted what’s called an Environmental Assessment Certificate on Wednesday.

The corporation is developing the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell prospect, near rivers that empty into the ocean in or near Southeast Alaska.

Seabridge still needs similar approval from Canada’s federal government. The KSM mine got a provisional OK earlier this month, and the final public comment period ends August 20th.

British Columbia government approval was granted a day after the National Council of American Indians released a statement opposing the KSM and similar developments.

The statement supported efforts by a Southeast tribal coalition critical of a half-dozen projects near transboundary rivers.

Seabridge Gold still needs to raise much of the $5.3 billion needed to develop what’s expected to be one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world.

British Columbia environment and mines ministers say their assessment has legally-enforceable mandates that protect rivers, fish, wildlife and people downstream.

Conditions include building water treatment facilities before ore is extracted and developing a wetlands-protection plan. The corporation must also minimize conflicts with bears and contribute to a moose recovery trust.

The conditions were developed with input from the Nisga’a First Nation and other B.C. tribal governments downstream of the mine.

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