Businesses and Tribes Push to Close BC Mine

Fishing and tourism entities, joined by other businesses and tribes, are urging Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to ensure that the government of British Columbia cleans up and closes the Tulsequah Chief Mine.

Their focus is toxic acid mine drainage that has been flowing from the Tulsequah Chief and its impact on the Taku River watershed since the mine was abandoned in 1957. There have been numerous calls for cleaning up the mine over the past two decades, but to no avail.

What has changed, the group explained, is that “the New Democratic party-led British Columbia government appears to realize that this is not a viable mine and that previous provincial hopes that a company would reopen and eventually clean up the mine aren’t realistic.”

The British Columbia government has accepted a joint proposal for mine cleanup from SRK Consulting and SNC-Lavalin. Still there could be much latitude as to what constitutes proper remediation, and Alaska’s continued involvement will be crucial, they noted.

After 20 years, we are finally seeing the B.C. government begin to address the Tulsequah Chief problem,” said Chris Zimmer, of Rivers Without Borders. “Alaskans need our new governor to keep the pressure on B.C. to ensure the province follows through with its commitment to clean up ad close down this polluting mine.”

The nearly three dozen signers of the letter included the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Alaska Trollers Association, Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, Taku River Reds, Taku Fisheries/Smokeries, and United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters.