Province gives conditional ‘yes’ to northwest B.C. mine

B.C. feels confident Nisga'a objections can be dealt with

PROVINCIAL environment minister Terry Lake and mines minister Rich Coleman have issued a conditional Environmental Assessment Certificate to Avanti Kitsault Mine Ltd. for the Kitsault open-pit molybdenum mine project, located at the head of Alice Arm and connected via road from the Nass Valley.

The decision was made after considering the review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office, which concluded that the project is not expected to result in any significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and conditions of the Environmental Assessment Certificate, the province said in a news release this afternoon.

The Environmental Assessment Certificate includes 34 conditions and a Certified Project Description. Each of the conditions is a legally binding requirement that Avanti Kitsault Mine Ltd. must meet to be in compliance with the certificate. It is also a legal requirement that the project be built and operated in accordance with the Certified Project Description.

Key conditions for the Kitsault Mine project that the proponent must meet include:

* Water quality must meet BC Water Quality Guidelines or approved Site Specific Water Quality Objectives for mine contaminants.

* Develop and implement Aquatic Effects and Marine Environment Monitoring Programs.

* Develop and implement a Wildlife Corridor Management Plan.

* Provide $100,000 in annual funding to support recovery of the Nass moose population and the Northwest Assessment and Monitoring Trust.

* Develop and implement a Geographical Response Plan for spills and a plan describing appropriate forms of barrier protection along areas of the transportation route, which have bodies of water at risk from spills and hazardous materials.

* Collaborate on water, air and noise monitoring plans and protocols for sharing monitoring information and emergency plans and develop a communications Memorandum of Understanding with Kitsault Resorts Ltd. including protocols for sharing information related to road use, monitoring information and emergency plans.

* Complete management and mitigation plans (Social and Cultural Management, Recruitment, Training and Employment, Business Capacity, Economic Closure, and Communication) in consultation with Nisga’a Lisims Government.

Consistent with its enhanced compliance and enforcement program, the Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other ministries to ensure that the office is independently satisfied that certificate conditions are met, the province said.

The project consists of an open-pit molybdenum mine that will produce 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of ore per day, a processing plant, tailings storage facility, containment embankments, waste rock storage and low grade ore stockpile, site runoff, diversion and water collection system, water management facility, borrow pit, overburden and topsoil storage, and the use of an existing 138 kilovolt transmission line and access roads.

The estimated total capital construction costs for the project are $836 million and the operating costs are approximately $120 million per year. The project will create an estimated 960 person-years of direct employment during construction.

The project also triggered a comprehensive study environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Before the project can proceed, the proponent will also need to obtain the necessary provincial licences, leases and other approvals.

The environmental assessment process involved a rigorous, thorough review that provided for significant opportunities for the Nisga’a Nation, First Nations, government agencies and the public to provide input on the potential for environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects of the proposed project, and to ensure that Crown obligations under the Nisga’a Final Agreement, and to consult affected First Nations, have been met, said the province.

The Nisga’a Nation has filed a Notice of Disagreement with British Columbia and Canada under the Nisga’a Final Agreement concerning the environmental assessment of the Kitsault Mine project.

The province said it is satisfied that it can engage, in good faith, in the dispute resolution stages and meaningfully address any outstanding issues through the subsequent processes required for permitting and in accordance with conditions of an EA Certificate.

A record of the factors that the ministers considered in making their decision can be found in the Reasons for Ministers’ Decision at: http://ow.ly/jdMgL.

 

 

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