Brucejack mine

In Photos: The Canadian Mining Boom You’ve Never Seen Before

Red Chris mine

If you’re in Vancouver this is way out in the middle of nowhere, but way out in the middle of nowhere is our backyard.”

Those are the words of Frederick Otilius Olsen Jr., the tribal president of a traditional Haida village on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

When I met him, he had travelled to Ketchikan, Alaska, to meet with officials about the risk posed by the mining boom across the border in British Columbia.

He stood on the boardwalk overlooking Ketchikan’s fishing fleet and waved his hands animatedly while he told me about how his culture — and southern Alaska’s economy — depends on salmon.

Art in the Heart of Controversy: Konelīne Cuts Through Rhetoric About Resource Extraction

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful

There are no good guys or bad guys in the documentary Konelīne and that extraordinary lack of judgement is what rivets attention as the film examines the changing landscape and lifestyles of northwestern British Columbia.

As massive machinery moves into the wild landscape, first to build the Northwest Transmission Line and then to work on the Brucejack gold mine and the Red Chris copper mine, lives are disrupted or changed and, whether it is a lineman, miner, guide outfitter, First Nations elder or Tahltan language student, director Nettie Wild captures the love that all the characters have for the wilderness.

What some call progress, others see as the end of a way of life. Some hunt on the land, some mine it and they all love it.

B.C. Mine Approvals ‘Too Much, Too Fast’ According to Alaskans Downstream

B.C.’s approval of a new mine in a transboundary watershed has added fuel to simmering Alaskan anger about the province’s surge of mine development adjacent to the southeast Alaska border.

The province has granted an environmental assessment certificate to Pretivm Resources Inc. for the Brucejack gold and silver mine, about 65 kilometres northwest of Stewart and 40 kilometres upstream from the Alaskan border.

The underground mine, which has not yet received federal approval, will be close to the headwaters of the Unuk River, which flows from B.C. into Alaska. The Unuk is one of Southeast Alaska’s largest king (chinook) salmon rivers and drains into Misty Fjords National Monument, one of Alaska’s most popular tourist destinations.

Brucejack is adjacent to the large Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) mine, which received B.C and federal government approval last year, despite strong opposition from Alaskan politicians, fishermen and tribal governments.

It is too much, too fast,” said Chris Zimmer, Alaska campaign director with Rivers Without Borders.

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