Transboundary Mine Issues Prompt More Meetings in Southeast Alaska

Growing concern over plans for several Canadian mineral
projects located on transboundary watersheds of key salmon rivers has prompted a
series of meetings in Southeast Alaska fisheries communities that will end Oct,
30 in Ketchikan.
The meetings in community gathering places in Juneau, Sitka,
Wrangell, Petersburg and Ketchikan were organized by Salmon Beyond Borders and
the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group.
At least five of the proposed Canadian mineral projects are
located in transboundary watersheds for important salmon rivers – the Taku,
Stikine and Unuk, which originate in British Columbia and flow into Southeast
The Taku, Stikine and Unuk watersheds span some 30,000
square miles, an area roughly the size of Maine, and have cultural and economic
significance for Southeast Alaska.   The
non-profit group Salmon Beyond Borders says the proposed mines in these
watersheds are likely to produce acid mine drainage and toxic heavy metals which
would harm Southeast Alaska’s fishing and tourism industries, as well as
traditional subsistence activities of Alaska Native tribes.
For months now, Southeast Alaska commercial fishermen have
been seeking help from the federal government to protect their region’s
fisheries and tourism industries from potential water pollution from these
proposed mines.
They want guarantees that Alaska’s water and fish will not
be harmed by British Columbia’s mine development efforts.

Seabridge Gold noted in a news release several weeks ago
that the company’s Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell mine project has already received
its environmental assessment certificate from provincial authorities and
expects to receive final federal approval by year’s end. The company estimates
proven and probable reserves totaling 38.2 million ounces of gold and 9.9
billion pounds of copper, and on its community website estimates a 52-year mine