MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Canadian mine gets OK, despite Alaska worries

Published by MAC on 2002-12-16


Canadian mine gets OK, despite Alaska worries

16 December 2002

Source: Mineral Resources Forum/UNEP, quoting Reuters News Service, Planet Ark

Provincial officials have given the green light to development of a metals mine in northern British Columbia that has been bitterly opposed by environmentalists, native groups and the state of Alaska.

A plan by Redfern Resources to reopen the Tulsequah Chief mine near the U.S. border, about 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Juneau, Alaska, would provide a major economic boost to the area and show that British Columbia supports the mining industry, the officials said on Friday.

"This decision is about achieving balance and moving toward resolution and increased certainty for all concerned," said Stan Hagen, the provincial resources minister.

Redfern is a unit of Redcorp Ventures (RDV.TO). The news boosted Redcorp stock 11 Canadian cents, or nearly 46 percent, to 35 Canadian cents on Friday.

The mine's approval is still subject to several conditions, but a Redcorp official said they "were not onerous."

Critics say the project is a threat to the Taku River, the source of a commercial salmon fishery worth $2.7 million a year to Alaskans. It is also an important habitat for salmon caught by sport fishermen and for three types of trout.

Provincial officials approved the mine's development once before, but the permit was quashed when a court ruled they had failed to adequately consult with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, which says the site is on its historic territory.

Redfern's plan calls for a 2,500-tonne per day underground mine producing copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver. The mine site on the glacier-fed Taku River was originally staked in 1923. It operated for seven years before closing in 1957 because of low ore prices.

See also the report: Mining and Sustainability: The case of the Tulsequah Chief Mine - Tom L. Green, Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia, July 2001.

 

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