Wild Border Watersheds

BC Mine Project Raises Concerns Over Salmon Habitat (Fishermen's News Online)

A Canadian government environmental report on a proposed open pit mine northwest of Stewart, British Columbia, is raising concerns from Southeast Alaska fishing interests, who say the project could cause significant harm to salmon habitat.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s comprehensive study report on the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project, released on July 21, says the agency is satisfied that identified mitigation measures for the project would address potential environmental impacts.

These impacts include, according to the report, potential impacts in Alaska on fish, recreational and commercial fisheries and human health from changes to water quality and quantity in the Unuk River.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, on July 21 opened its fourth and final public comment period on the environmental assessment, which will run through Aug. 20.

The lengthy assessment centers on a proposal from the junior mining company Seabridge Gold Inc., to develop a gold, copper, silver and molybdenum mine, planning the Unuk and Bell-Irving watersheds some 65 kilometers northwest of Stewart, British Columbia. Seabridge Gold, with offices in Toronto, and Smithers, British Columbia, has identified the KSM project as one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in the world, with proven and probable reserves of 38.2 million ounces of gold and 9.9 billion pounds of copper.

The headwaters of the Unuk and Nass rivers lies just 19 miles from the Alaska border. The Unuk, which begins in Canada and flows into Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument, is a key Southeast Alaska king salmon and eulachon river. The Nass is British Columbia’s third largest salmon river, producing fish harvested by both Canadians and Alaskans.

A copy of the Canadian government’s assessment is online at http://ksmproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/34-081-CEAA_KSM_EN_R4_X4.pdf.

Public comment on the project may be submitted by Aug. 20 to KSM Project, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 410-701 Georgia Street West, Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1C6 More information is at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=49262, http://salmonbeyondborders.org/ and http://bit.ly/KSMmegamine.

(To read source article, click "Fishermen's News Online")

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