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/
Large Mine Project Manager
B.C. Mining ProjectsMine projects proposed in British Columbia that the State of Alaska has reviewed, or is in the process of reviewing are listed under Current Projects. More detailed project information from the EAO may be found here. More detailed project information from the CEAA may be found here.
An interactive map of mines in B.C. is located here
Other ProjectsOutside of the provincial and federal Canadian environmental review processes, the State of Alaska may monitor the progress of specific mine projects located in British Columbia through reviewing published reports or direct communications with provincial and Canadian regulatory agencies. Such projects are listed under Other Projects.
PermittingIn addition to the EA process, which concludes with the issuance of an Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC), a mine project proposed in British Columbia must also complete a rigorous permitting processes. Permits must be obtained by a project proponent, pursuant to the Environmental Management Act and the Mines Act, before construction or operations may begin.
British Columbia’s Authorization Management System provides access to all waste discharge authorization documents issued under the Environmental Management Act.
Protection of Transboundary WatersThe State of Alaska and the Province of British Columbia have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Statement of Cooperation (SOC) for the protection of transboundary waters. Per the MOU and SOC, a Bi-Lateral Working Group (BWG) was established consisting of the commissioners of the Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Fish and Game (ADF&G), and Natural Resources (DNR) and the deputy ministers of the British Columbia Ministries of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources (EMPR) and Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV). BWG meeting summaries are provided below.
Technical Working Group on MonitoringThrough the SOC, the State of Alaska and Province of British Columbia established a Technical Working Group on Monitoring (TWG-M) comprised of agency and ministry experts tasked with developing recommendations for the BWG regarding the scope, elements and funding of a defined coordinated monitoring effort. In 2017, the BWG approved a Project Description and Two-year Workplan for a Joint Water Quality Monitoring Program for Transboundary Waters (see attachments in SOC, link above). A 2019 status report of this sampling program is available here → British Columbia and Alaska Transboundary Rivers Sampling Program 2019 Status Report.
Additional InformationState of Alaska agencies have developed the following information related to transboundary mine projects.
- Interactive Transboundary Map (beta)
- Informational “white paper”
- Comparison of Alaska Water Quality Standards and British Columbia Water Quality Guidelines
- Informational presentation regarding the State of Alaska’s engagement with British Columbia for reviewing mine projects proposed in transboundary watersheds