Water quality in a tributary of one of Southeast Alaska’s prime salmon rivers will improve once a new mine opens on the B.C. side of the border according to spokesmen for Seabridge Gold Inc, the Toronto-based company planning to open the Kerr-Sulpherets-Mitchell (KSM) mine.
The copper, gold and molybdenum mine, 65 kilometres northwest of Stewart and 30 kilometres from the Alaska border, received federal and provincial environmental assessment approvals last year and the company is now seeking a joint venture partner for the $5.4-billion project.
But the prospect of a massive mine close to a tributary that runs into the Unuk River has alarmed Alaskan fishing, First Nations and environmental groups who say the risk is unacceptable and are pushing for transboundary mining issues to be referred to the International Joint Commission.
“The long term risks of KSM far outweigh any short-term improvements to water quality the mine may create,” Chris Zimmer, Rivers Without Borders Alaska campaign director, said.