Gold Mine Rejected By BC Because Of Fears It Would’ve Hurt Skeena Salmon

The Morrison mine was first rejected in 2012

Skeena River in Northern British Columbia. Photo credit: Wild Salmon Center.

A proposal for an open-pit copper, gold and molybdenum not far from Smithers was just rejected by the province.

Policymakers said they feared the mine would’ve hurt “a unique wild sockeye salmon population.”

“Having reviewed the material provided to us, we have reached the same conclusion as our predecessors: there remain uncertainties and risks to fish and water quality,” George Heyman, minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Bruce Ralston, minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, wrote in a statement.

“In light of that uncertainty, we do not think it would be in the public interest to grant an [environmental assessment certificate] for the Morrison mine.”

The mine was first proposed in the 1990s. It was rejected by the province in 2010 and 2012, but the Vancouver-based company Pacific Booker Minerals tried to appeal that decision.

Morrison project location. Photo credit: Pacific Booker Minerals

Following the recent denial of an environmental permit, the company says that “management is currently considering the options available for a path forward for the project.”

Pacific Booker argues that “the risks to fish, water and communities outweighed any potential economic benefits from the project,” the Narwhal reports. However, the media outlet adds, “about 90 per cent of Skeena River sockeye populations come from the Skeena watershed, of which Morrison Lake is a part, depending on the year.”

That risk was too high for provincial leaders. “The potential for long-term liability for the province and risk to the environment were not acceptable in this case,” they argue.   

The Lake Babine Nation is happy with the decision, saying that the Morrison Mine “would have been built on the Nation’s core Aboriginal title lands, right beside vital Skeena talok (sockeye salmon) spawning grounds.” 

Written by The Skeena

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