Wild Border Watersheds

New BC gold mine exposes gap in federal oversight (The Tyee)

Changes made two years ago to a century-old federal law mean that a giant new gold mine just approved by the province for northwestern British Columbia will get reduced federal oversight -- and risk creating an international flashpoint.

The B.C. government yesterday gave Seabridge Gold Inc.'s proposed Kerr-Sulpherets-Mitchell gold mine, in the headwaters of the Unuk River, a certificate of approval, concluding that the $5.3-billion open-pit project is unlikely to have any adverse environmental impacts.

That confidence is questionable. The international gold-mining industry has a long and troubling record of serious environmental damage arising from its operations, including rivers and estuaries heavily contaminated by cyanide, arsenic and other chemicals either used in processing ore or released from the ground when it is mined.

The potential implications for the Unuk River, which begins in Canada but runs for the last 40 kilometres of its course through the Alaska panhandle, have alarmed that state's residents.

(To read complete source article, click "The Tyee")

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