The British Columbia government has issued an environmental assessment certificate to Seabridge Gold Inc.
, Stock Forum
) for a major gold-copper project in northern B.C., a move that has triggered concerns about the impact of any development on downstream waters and lands across the border in Alaska.
Seabridge shares were up almost 4% to $10.21 Thursday on news that the $5.3 billion KSM project has been granted environmental assessment approval, leaving the company with a market cap of $492.4 million, based on 48.2million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is $18.11 and $7.09.
“This decision confirms that KSM is a well-designed, environmentally responsible project which is technically feasible and offers significant economic benefits to both British Columbia and Canada,’’ said Seabridge Gold Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk in a press release.
Estimated to host an inferred resource of 6 million ounces of gold and 6.1 billion pounds of copper, KSM is one of a handful of proposed resource projects that are expected to connect to a new $746 million transmission line, providing power to northern B.C.
However, the Federal Government has yet to decide whether or not to approve the KSM project, and even if approval is forthcoming, Seabridge will require a joint venture partner with deep pockets.
Approval by the B.C. government comes after the American Council of American Indians released a statement under the banner “Negative Effects of Canadian Trans-boundary Mining.”
The statement noted that B.C. is in the midst of a major mining boom in the trans-boundary region at the headwaters of major Alaskan rivers, including Taku, Stikine, and Unuk.
Proposed mines include Tulsequah Chief in the Stikine region, Galore Creek in Kitmat-Sitmat-Stikine, Red Chris property near Iskut., Schaft Creek in Kitimat-Stikine and the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project in Kitimat-Stikine.
It went on to say that this development is happening under Canadian laws and regulations that have been significantly weakened over the past few years.
The National Congress of American Indians is requesting that U.S. government officials “engage directly” with the Canadian government on B.C.’s proposed mines to project the health and productivity of Southeast Alaska’s waters and lands downstream from proposed mines to ensure that they are not damaged by development upstream.
Meanwhile, the B.C. government said the environment certificate comes with 41 legally enforceable conditions that were developed following consultations and input from Nisga’a Nation, First Nations, among others.
Under the conditions, Seabridge must for example:
Make financial contributions to a trust that is being established by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource operations to support moose recovery initiatives in the northwest.