Acid contaminated water runs from the entrance of the Tulsequah Chief Mine in Canada. (Courtesy photo)

Acid contaminated water runs from the entrance of the Tulsequah Chief Mine in Canada. (Courtesy photo)

Governor ‘frustrated’ by long-polluting Canadian mine

In letter to B.C., Walker says damage to Taku River has gone on too long.

In a letter sent to Canadian mining authorities Oct. 31, Gov. Bill Walker said he was “frustrated” by the slow cleanup of a long-shuttered mine near Juneau.

Runoff from the Tulsequah Chief Mine has been flowing into a tributary of the Taku River for more than 60 years. British Columbia regulatory authorities have tried unsuccessfully to sell the mine, hoping a new owner will clean the site up.

Two previous mine owners have gone bankrupt. Black Loon Metals Inc. was in talks to purchase the mine last summer, but those fell through.

Clean-up funds can’t be wrested from a bankrupt mine, according to Canadian law. Walker said that shouldn’t prevent Canada from taking action.

“We, too, are frustrated by the slow progress and are skeptical that any viable proposal to operate the site as a mine again will be forthcoming, and should not be a reason for delaying full reclamation of the site,” Walker wrote.

Walker addressed his correspondence to B.C. Premier John Horgan, his counterpart in Victoria, B.C. The letter is the latest in a series from Alaska elected officials calling for action on transboundary mining issues.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.

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