Alaska-B.C. mine rivers generally healthy: state-province joint report – by Jeremy Hainsworth (Business In Vancouver – February 25, 2021)

A four-year study of Alaska-B.C. rivers associated with mining activity – spurred by U.S. and Canadian complaints about environmental threats – has concluded there aren’t risks to marine habitat.

People on both sides in the Alaska Panhandle region, including at least one U.S. senator, had complained to then U.S. President Barack Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry that discharges associated with B.C. mines such as the Red Chris, KSM and New Polaris Mine were leaching materials into ocean waters and threatening fisheries.

While the concerns date back many years, it was the 2014 collapse of the Mount Polley mine tailings dam, which sent a torrent of 25 million cubic metres of water and mine slurry into nearby creeks, that intensified calls for border mine discharges to be examined.

The British Columbia and Alaska Bilateral Working Group on the Protection of Transboundary Waters examined the Stikine, Taku and Unuk trans-boundary watersheds.

After four years’ work, the bilateral group released its results Feb. 25.

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