Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission
Seabridge Gold has asked British Columbia for an extension on starting construction of what would be the largest open pit mine in North America. British Columbia‘s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says it is considering Seabridge Gold’s request. In an article in THE NARWAHL by Stephanie Wood (https://thenarwhal.ca/ksm-mine-seabridge-gold-extension-covid-19), a Ministry spokesperson said the environmental assessment office will “initiate a review process with technical advisors and Indigenous nations to review the request.”
The Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) asks British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to deny the extension. “Say “No” to this extension request” said Rob Sanderson, Jr, Vice President of Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Chair of Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission. “We look forward to our involvement in this review process.”
Added Jennifer Hanlon of Yakutat Tlingit Tribe and Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission Vice Chair. “KSM already needs an updated Environmental Assessment. Seabridge asking for a construction extension is a perfect time to also ask for a new Environmental Assessment.”
Seabridge Gold argues in THE NARWAHL article that another 5-year extension for the Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell mine project is necessary due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as noted in the article, Dr. David Chambers, founder and president of the Center for Science in Public Participation, “would like to see another environmental analysis, rather than a permit extension. With a five-year extension already granted for the mine, its environmental analysis is quite dated.” Also noted, since receiving its certificate, Seabridge Gold did more exploration and found more minerals than initially proposed.
“I don’t believe that COVID-19 prevents Seabridge from getting a partner to build the KSM mine,” says Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission Executive Director Frederick Olsen, Jr. “Gold prices keep rising, silver prices are similar to 2014. Why won’t investors buy in? They must be paying attention. Like Alaska’s Pebble mine, this project is located in the wrong place.”
British Columbia recently passed legislation to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples throughout its legal system. “Here in Ketchikan and Saxman, we hope we can take British Columbia at their word,” said Sylvia Banie, Vice President of the Organized Village of Saxman and Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission’s Secretary. “KSM would be huge and so close to us. Our people need a say in the process.”
“These guys do their best work in the dark but every once in a while, they have to come out into the light,” said Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission’s Sanderson. “This is another chance to pay attention.”