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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

Canada’s deficit result of investing in Canadians: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier said the government is working on the next steps as the economy restarts

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read