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.