Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell, a British Columbia mine in the transboundary Unuk River watershed that concerns many Southeast Alaska fishermen, Native organizations, tourism and environmental groups, has received early construction permits from the British Columbian government.


“I think people are feeling not just a sense of urgency, and being threatened, but anger, too,” said Heather Hardcastle, commercial fishing outreach coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “To hear that they have these preliminary permits, road construction permits — it seems like such a slap in the face, because the project doesn’t yet have federal approval from the government in Canada.”


KSM has received provincial approval; Seabridge Gold, the company behind the project, expects the federal decision in November.


KSM, while a large mine, is just one of a handful Southeast Alaskans are concerned about. They and Alaska’s congressional delegation are working to spur international cooperation on the larger issue of mines in transboundary watersheds. Sen. Mark Begich hopes to soon jump-start that coordination.


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