Seabridge Gold Team Builds Trust
For the past eight years, Seabridge Gold has worked to gain trust from community members near the KSM Project. The Seabridge team believes it is important that aboriginal and non-aboriginal people living in the project area are engaged and understand KSM and what it means for British Columbia’s northwest.
We opened a local office in Smithers in 2011, and we make it a priority to spend time in nearby communities speaking to the people who live here.
Over the past eight years, we have given more than 220 community workshops and meetings, conducted 16 site tours and hosted 28 public forums.
During our Environmental Assessment, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) documented our information distribution and engagement (read the assessment here), including our participation in open houses in the communities of Stewart, Iskut, Dease Lake, Telegraph Creek, Terrace , Gitlaxt’aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap, Gingolx, Smithers, Gitanyow, Hazelton and New Hazelton.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) worked closely with the BC EAO and Seabridge to ensure full public participation, including two public comment and open house periods on the scope and content of the KSM comprehensive study during the summer of 2010 and joint public open houses during the Environmental Assessment.
To understand and address concerns of Alaskans, Seabridge worked extensively with Alaskan State and US Federal regulators (EPA, DOI, NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Service) during more than 85 different meetings and interactions during the Environmental Assessment process. (See list of meetings with US and Alaskan agencies and regulators). The company also held an Open House in Ketchikan, Alaska in 2011, presented at the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska conference in Craig, Alaska in 2014, and accepted several one-on-one meetings with representatives of the Tlingit Haida accompanied by southeast Alaskan-based Environmental NGO’s.
Large mine project coordinator for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Kyle Moselle concluded, “Four of the same resource managers and specialists who reviewed Alaskan mines have examined KSM’s plan. They found no significant issues with the application” (read more from Kyle Moselle in a 2014 Juneau Empire article).
Far in advance of regulatory requirement, Seabridge committed to establishing an Independent Geotechnical Review Board to provide independent, expert oversight, opinion and advice to Seabridge on the design, construction, operational management and ultimate closure of the Tailings Management Facility and Water Storage Dam (read our press release here).
Over the course of its Environmental Assessment, and prior to receiving an EA certification for KSM, Seabridge invested $400,000 in job readiness for community members in northwestern BC. We donated $100,000 to the Aboriginal Mine Training Association which provided skill upgrades to adult participants; we also donated $300,000 to Northwest Community College for its Intro to Trades program, readying high school students to participate in trades training.
Because of the trust built from our efforts, Seabridge has entered into comprehensive Benefits Agreement with the Nisga’a Nation (read our press release here) and an environmental agreement with the Gitanyow Wilps (read our press release here).
Also, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs have endorsed the Project with a letter of support for environmental assessment approval (read the letter). We have also received letters from the communities of Terrace (read the letter) and Smithers (read the letter), both supporting the KSM Project.
Although we have received Environmental Assessment approval from the Provincial and Federal governments for the KSM Project, we remain committed to continually building trust by engaging with our neighbours, supporting communities and addressing concerns or questions.