Acid pond left behind by the Tulsequah Chief mine exploration project

B.C. mine cleanup marks deal with Alaska

B.C. takes over Tulsequah Chief cleanup, agreement signed to protect Taku, Unuk, Alsek and Stikine Rivers

The B.C. government is proceeding with cleanup assessment of an abandoned gold mine project on the Taku River system, as it puts in place a joint oversight system with Alaska to clear the way for future B.C. mine developments.

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the B.C. government is taking over the cleanup after the latest owner of the Tulsequah Chief project, 100 km south of Atlin, went bankrupt like its predecessor.

The old exploration project affects one of the rivers flowing from B.C. into Alaska waters, the Taku, Unuk, Alsek and Stikine. B.C.’s Red Chris mine is the only operating mine in the region, on the Stikine system, and two other large properties, Brucejack and KSM Mine, are in the Unuk River watershed.

Toronto-based Chieftain Metals was pushed into receivership in September with a $27 million debt. It took over from Redfern Resources, which collapsed in the 2009 financial crisis, on a mineral deposit originally explored by Cominco in the 1950s.

Bennett toured the Tulsequah Chief site in 2015 with Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallott. Chieftain Metals built a water treatment plant and was doing assessment of acid and heavy metal pollution from its entrance tunnel to the Tulsequah River when it halted operations.

“The company had committed to ecosystem risk management study, but they’ve gone broke so we’re doing it ourselves,” Bennett said. “We’re going to pay for it ourselves and we’re in the last stages of hiring a contractor to do that work for the two ministries.”

The bilateral working group with Alaska and B.C. representatives will first gather baseline data on water conditions in the shared river systems.

Bennett credited Mallott’s work with Alaska tribes and commercial fishing organizations to represent them in negotiations with B.C. Their protests to Alaska government officials surged after the Mount Polley mine tailings pond failure in B.C. as new mines were proposed for areas affecting Alaska.

 

Just Posted

RDKB, province reach agreement flood clean-up fees

Flood victims will not have to pay at the landfill to tip flood-damaged goods.

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

Rain, storms to hit Kootenays, Boundary amid flood crisis

Environment Canada is calling for 20 to 40 mm of rain by Friday

Missing Chilliwack man may be travelling to Grand Forks on motorcycle

Wilfred James Kilgren, 69, was last heard from by a friend on April 11

Thunderstorms headed to the West Kootenay

Environment Canada re-issued their special weather statement this morning,

Trans Mountain pipeline: Is it worth the risk?

Concerns range from the threat of an oil spill to the impact of tanker traffic on wildlife

B.C. to spend $181M to create 200 general practitioner jobs

Jobs will go to new medical school graduates

Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Justin Trudeau’s infamous trip to India earlier this year was the focus of many of the jabs

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Most Read