Mining

Mining is a growing concern in the Skeena Watershed. Open pit coalmines have been proposed for the Upper Skeena (Groundhog / Atrum) and Telkwa watersheds (Teklwa Coal /Allegiance). An open pit copper / gold mine (Morrison Mine / Pacific Booker) has been proposed for the Babine watershed. These mines pose significant threats to salmon, steelhead due to potential Selenium, Nitrate and Sulphate contamination. There are also serious concerns with existing and proposed mines in the Nass, Unuk, Iskut, Stikine, and Taku watersheds. Alaskan's are growing increasingly concerned about the downstream impacts from these mines.

SkeenaWild has been working with Northern Confluence and Salmon Beyond Borders (Alaskan coalition) to understand and raise awareness about mining issues in the region. Selenium contamination is an area of particular interest. Selenium has significant effects on salmon and is a potential problem with the new Red Chris mine, the proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) mine, mines proposed at the Skeena headwaters, Telkwa coal projects, and the proposed Morrison Mine in Babine Lake. There is currently no operational effective waste treatment for removing selenium from contaminated water.

SkeenaWild drafted a metal mining briefing note highlighting concern with KSM and lack of treatment technology for Selenium, and a report summarizing fresh water monitoring efforts in northwest BC to get a better understanding of what information is being collected downstream of existing and proposed mine sites.  We have also been connecting with BC Ministry of Environment staff in gathering information on water quality and water quality issues downstream of mine sites. The new Red Chris (Iskut watershed) is a concern due to increasing selenium concentration downstream of the mine in Eluea and Kluea Lakes.