The government of British Columbia has rejected plans for a combined copper-gold mine in the province’s north-west due to fears it could threaten salmon populations in the Skeena River.
The Vancouver Sun reports that Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy Mines and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman refused to provide the project with an environmental assessment certificate on the grounds that the project would affect sockeye salmon populations and water quality in Morrison Lake.
Pacific Booker Minerals had proposed the construction of the mine at Morrison Lake in the north-west of British Colombia, 65 kilometers north of Smithers.
The mine would have been situated directly adjacent to the 15-kilometre-long Morrison Lake at the headwaters of the Skeena River, which serves as the second-largest producer of sockeye salmon in the province.
Its facilities would have included processing plants, sewage and waste water management infrastructure, and storage for waste rocks, low-grade ore, tailings and sludge.
Local indigenous groups have heralded the surprise decision and the government’s consideration of their interests, with Chief Wilf Adam of the Babine Lake First Nation saying “it’s all about the protection of the salmon.”