World’s biggest gold-copper mine wins government approval in BC

A large mining project proposed for British Columbia has received approval to move forward from the minister of the environment after a lengthy environmental assessment. The minister, Leona Aglukkaq, announced that the Seabridge KSM project, in the northeast of the province, near the southeast border of Alaska, is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures described in the Comprehensive Study Report are taken into account. The Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell contains gold, silver and copper deposits.

The plans are for combined open-pit and underground mining operations. The deposits are said to contain 38.2 million cubic ounces of gold, 9.9 billion pounds of copper, 191 million ounces of silver, and 213 million pounds of molybdenum, making this the world’s largest copper-gold mine by volume of reserves. When operational, the mine could process 130,000 tonnes per day. It could have an operational life of fifty-two years, creating 1,800 direct jobs and 4,770 indirect jobs during construction, expected to last five years, and 1,040 direct jobs annually once production begins.

copper-mine-tailings-gold-silver-Seabridge-KSM-Aglukkaq-BC-Canada-Alaska-first-nations-EDIWeekly
Seabridge KSM project as presented for its environmental assessment.

The site will include waste rock storage dumps, an ore grinding circuit, water storage facility, water treatment plant, selenium treatment plant, several small hydroelectric projects, diversion tunnels, access roads, camp facilities, explosives factory and magazine, and supporting infrastructure, according to a government description. The company still requires various permits from BC to begin construction of the mater storage dam and other water management structures, as well as a permit for the tailings storage facility. More than 150 permits are needed in all.

Seabridge will spend an estimated $3.5 billion in British Columbia and $6 billion in Canada during construction of the mine. It has already spent $176 million in exploration, engineering and environmental work. The company is now looking for investors.

Despite the Canadian government’s assurances that the project has been assessed using a “science-based” approach, and that the concerns of First Nations people in the area have been addressed, not everyone is happy with the decision. The State of Alaska says that Canada has rejected its calls for a more thorough environmental review. The KSM project is too close to rivers with important salmon stocks, say Alaskan fishing, native rights and environmental groups. They point to a recent case in which Imperial Metal’s Mount Polley mine’s tailings dam breached and spilled millions of gallons of waste rock and water into the Fraser River in southern BC. That incident was “a wake-up call” for the Alaskans, who do not believe that Seabridge has the demonstrated that it has the ability or resources to safely treat the “massive” amounts of water and toxic wastes that the mine will generate.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Province lends steel maker $7 million for plant upgrades
  • NASA says human Mars landing is feasible by 2030s
  • Expect record-high auto sales in 2015: Scotiabank
  • Chrysler expanding Windsor assembly plant for "future vehicle"
  • Oil supply rising even as demand growth falls; investment likely to be slashed further in 2017
  • NASA Testing Technology Designed to Fold Wings During Flight
  • Stronger concrete made from recycled tires developed by UBC Engineers: could help reduce carbon footprint of 3 billion tires-a-year
  • Growing Quebec aerospace industries will need skilled labour
  • Bombardier, NetJets launch new Challenger 350
  • SAFFir is an autonomous robot firefighter being tested by the Navy for dangerous situations. Unlike other firefighting robots, SAFFir is both autonomous, and stands on two legs, with two hands to grasp fire hoses.
    Robots save lives: robot fire-fighters take on explosive situations. SAFFiR shows how they can be ultimately be autonomous.
  • Ontario trade mission to Korea focused on nuclear industry
  • Pipelines, railways equally safe for transporting crude oil: report
  • Manufacturing takes a hit as water heater plant closes in Fergus
  • New CEO chosen to take over Waterfront Toronto
  • Infrastructure Ontario seeks proposals for Highway 427 expansion
  • SPACE 1971 vs today: looking back on the anniversary of Apollo 14's landing on the moon; with new landings planned, how much have we advanced?
  • Elon Musk's green vision extends to the Tesla Semi, capable of hauling 80,000 pounds for up to 400 miles on a single 30 minute charge
  • China’s Drive for Clean Energy Results in Winter Gas Shortage
  • Autos and parts drag down manufacturing sales in August
  • Twenty-kilometre tower would revolutionize space launches
Scroll to Top