The Mining Association of British Columbia can crow all it likes about what a great job it thinks it’s doing to protect the environment in B.C. and Alaska, but reality on the ground paints a very different picture, particularly for critically endangered transboundary salmon stocks.
In his Sept. 1 My Turn piece MABC’s Michael Goehring boasted that B.C.’s mining industry meets some of the highest regulatory standards. Why then are there currently no enforceable policies in place to safeguard wild salmon and clean water, and the jobs they support, from large-scale mines in B.C.?
In northern B.C. at least 12 new mines have been proposed or are under construction. One of them, the KSM Mine, would be the largest open pit gold and copper mine in North America. Its liquid mine waste storage lake could be behind a 780-foot-high dam towering over the Bell Irving/Nass watershed near the Sulphurets Creek, which runs into the salmon-rich Unuk River, emptying into Southeast Alaska, where indigenous peoples are rightly concerned.
Extensive research has shown that B.C. mines are dirty and dangerous and do not meet independently verifiable and internationally-acceptable sustainability standards to protect the environment or human rights.
However, MABC is right about one thing: Nobody is more passionate about protecting British Columbia’s environment than British Columbians. It’s about time the BC mining industry followed suit.
Executive director at SkeenaWild Conservation Trust,
Terrace, British Columbia