The proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine has a number of commercial, sport and subsistence fish harvesters, and environmental groups concerned that the mine could adversely affect fish habitat in the transboundary river area, where rivers from British Columbia flow into Southeast Alaska.
Frederick Olsen Jr., represents United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group, a coalition of 13 Southeast Alaska Tribes, and Annita McPhee representing the Tahltan Nation. Both have shares in the mining company that will give them access to the meeting. McPhee contends that in the wake of the Mount Polley mine disaster, Seabridge still plans to use “risky, discredited technology to store its mine wastes.”
Olsen said he is there to ask Seabridge whether it will publicly support an international joint commission review of the mine.
The state of Alaska and Alaska’s congressional delegation have called for bilateral discussions, and Alaska tribes and the city of Juneau have requested a full International Joint Commission review to address transboundary water pollution issues.
Earlier in June Price Waterhouse Coopers released a forecast of a prolonged period of low metals prices, raising questions about the feasibility of large multi-billion dollar mine projects to attract financing. Last week the environmental organization Earthworks, with Salmon Beyond Borders, released its analysis of the PWC annual review of global trends in mining, a report critical of what it described as discredited mine waste tailings dam technology.
Salmon harvests in Southeast Alaska have a big economic impact on the region’s commercial and sport fisheries, as well as subsistence users.