Canadian Large Projects
The State of Alaska engages in the review of large hard rock mining projects that have the potential to affect Alaska’s interests that depend on transboundary rivers. Generally, mining activities in northwest British Columbia do not require State of Alaska approval, because the proposed activities would occur outside of Alaska. However, if the activities could potentially affect downstream water quality, fish habitat, or fishery resources, the State of Alaska participates in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process administered by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). For more information on the EA process and the EAO, please visit http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/ea_process.html
Some mining projects proposed in British Columbia also require federal environmental review administered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). For more information on the federal environmental review processes and the CEAA, please visit http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/
B.C. Mining Projects
Below is a list of mining projects in British Columbia that the State of Alaska has previously participated in the review of, is currently participating in the review of, or anticipates participating in the review of as they advance further. More detailed project information from the EAO may be found here. More detailed project information from the CEAA may be found here.
- Project Proponent is Pretivm Resources Inc.
- Proposed underground gold project located approximately 25 miles from Alaska near Brucejack Lake, which drains to the Unuk River via Sulphurets Creek.
- The EAO has accepted the application for this project and the 180-day review period started on August 14th.
- This project is also subject to Canadian federal review. The CEAA will coordinate with the EAO to align their separate review processes and decisions. A public comment period is being offered from August 27, 2014 to October 10, 2014. More information regarding the public comment period may be found here.
- Project Proponent is Seabridge Gold Inc.
- Proposed open pit copper and gold project located approximately 20 miles from Alaska in the Unuk Watershed. This project also proposes facilities in the upper Bell-Irving watershed, which drains to the Nass River. Although the Nass River does not enter Alaska, it supports salmon populations that are caught in Alaska’s commercial fisheries.
- This project has completed the provincial environmental review process.
- State of Alaska comments to the EAO dated January 24, 2014
- The federal environmental review process is in progress for this project, with a decision by the Minister of Environment pending.
- State of Alaska comments to the CEAA dated August 20, 2014
- Project Proponent is Chieftain Metals Corporation.
- Proposed copper, lead, zinc, gold, and silver project located approximately 5 miles from Alaska in the Taku Watershed.
- This project has completed the provincial and federal environmental review processes.
- Project Proponent is Imperial Metals Corporation.
- Proposed open pit copper and gold project located approximately 150 miles from Alaska in the Iskut Watershed, which drains to the Stikine River.
- This project has completed the provincial and federal environmental review processes and is currently being constructed.
The State of Alaska was not involved in the environmental assessment or permitting processes for the Mount Polley Mine. However, due to its proximity with the Fraser River, which supports fish stocks harvested in Alaska fisheries, the State of Alaska is following the emergency response by B.C. to a recent dam breach at the mine.
- On August 4, 2014, a tailings pond breach occurred at Mount Polley Mine in south-central B.C., near the town of Likely. The breach released approximately 17 million cubic meters of effluent water and 8 million cubic meters of tailings material into Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.
- The B.C. Ministry of Environment (MoE) is the lead agency responding to the breach while the B.C. Conservation Office Service (COS) is the lead agency investigating the cause of the incident.
- Current information regarding the Mount Polley dam breach, the emergency response and monitoring activities, and the investigation may be found at here
For more information regarding the State of Alaska’s involvement in the review of mining projects proposed in British Columbia, please contact:
Large Project Coordinator
400 Willougby Ave
Juneau, AK 99811 Phone: 907-465-6849
Office of Project Management
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1430
Anchorage, AK 99501-3579