Salmon Safe Mining
Not all mines are created equal
We are working to ensure the renewable energy revolution does not happen on the back of dirty mining in British Columbia. SkeenaWild has published a report specifying what responsible (salmon-friendly) mining is and how it can be achieved. The criteria in the report is based on existing standards such as Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and past research SkeenaWild has undertaken on metal contamination on salmonids.
Not all mines are created equal. The open pit coal mines proposed for the Upper Skeena and Telkwa watersheds and an open pit copper / gold mine proposed for the Babine watershed pose significant threats to salmon and steelhead due to potential metal, acid, nitrate, and sulphate contamination. British Columbians and Alaskans are growing increasingly concerned about the downstream impacts from existing and proposed mines in the Nass, Unuk, Iskut, Stikine, and Taku watersheds.
SkeenaWild has been working with our partners to understand and raise awareness about mining issues in the region. Selenium contamination is an area of particular concern. Selenium has significant effects on salmon and no treatment procedures for removing selenium from contaminated water have been effectively implemented at an operational scale in British Columbia.
We’re currently compiling and updating water quality and fish health data for mine projects that operate in sensitive salmon systems in northwest British Columbia. We will make the information available to communities throughout the region and assess potential impacts to water and fish from proposed mines.
We’re also working with coalitions on mining reform. One BC-based coalition is defining a set of mining law reforms and the second is a coalition of scientists from BC, Alaska, Washington, and Montana who are working on transboundary mining issues to improve science, monitoring and decision-making.
SkeenaWild participated in the Implementation Committee for the new BC Environmental Assessment Act, pushing for improved transparency and public participation and to bring better science and more mining projects into the review process. The new Impact Assessment Act, which replaces the federal Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012), came into effect at the end of August 2019.