LandKeepers News Archive
February 27 2009 | Media Releases | Government of BC, Ministry of Environment
TULSEQUAH CHIEF MINE RECEIVES CERTIFICATE AMENDMENT
February 27, 2009
VICTORIA – Redfern Resources Ltd. (the proponent) has received an amendment to its environmental assessment (EA) certificate for the Tulsequah Chief Mine project. Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom made their decision to grant the certificate amendment after considering the review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).
The project is a copper, gold, zinc, lead and silver underground mine located in northwestern British Columbia approximately 30 km from the Canada-U.S. border, 64 km northeast of Juneau, Alaska, and 120 km southwest of Atlin, B.C. The mine has approval to construct a 160-km access road from Atlin to the mine site, but has proposed barging materials and equipment on the Taku River as an alternative to building the access road.
The certificate amendment includes the construction of a barge landing facility, upgrade of a haul road of approximately eight km from the barge landing site to the mine site, and the operation of air cushion barges and towing vessels from the mine site to Juneau.
The EAO concluded that there will not likely be any significant adverse effects if the amendment is carried out according to the commitments and mitigation measures set out in the certificate amendment.
The amendment to the provincial EA certificate contains 12 commitments that the proponent must implement throughout various stages of the project. Key commitments include the following: The proponent must implement the aquatic and wildlife effects monitoring and management plans that are part of adaptive management to identify and address any unforeseen effects that occur during the commissioning and operation of the barge on the Taku River. The proponent must also develop and implement a comprehensive spill prevention and contingency plan prior to commencement of operations and must provide daily notification of the timing of barge activities on the Taku River to allow fishers to avoid impacts from the passing of the barge.
The air-cushioned barge proposal is subject to a Canadian Environmental Assessment Act screening review because of a federal Fisheries Act authorization required at the barge landing site. A decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the CEAA screening is pending.
The proposed project is in the traditional territory of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, who have fully participated throughout the review. The barge proposal requires permits from Alaska before it can operate. That process has not yet concluded.
The original environmental assessment certificate was issued in December 2002 and a five-year extension to the certificate was granted in September 2007. The capital cost of the barging proposal is estimated at $50 million and is expected to create 20 jobs. The mine itself has an estimated capital cost of $450 million and is expected to create about 400 construction jobs, as well as about 210 operations jobs during the anticipated eight-year life of the mine.
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