On November 25, B.C. and Alaska signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) strengthening cross-border partnerships in many areas of common interest, including mining and environmental matters.
In our opinion, the MOU provides a vehicle for better communication and collaboration between B.C. and Alaska on major mine development on either side of the border, which Seabridge Gold fully supports.
We are of the opinion the MOU formalizes the process which Seabridge Gold undertook during the Comprehensive Provincial/Federal Environmental Review, (2008-2015) in which we engaged with the Alaska and US Regulators (EPA, DOI, NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Services) 85 times through direct meetings and interactions first beginning in 2008. Over the course of the environmental assessment we also met with and shared information with the Alaskan Tribes, and at the request of the US Department of the Interior held a public meeting in Ketchikan in 2011. Over the course of the environmental assessment, we also met with representatives of the Tlingit Haida Central Council, Southeast Alaska Villages and the Environmental NGO’s based in SE Alaska on several occasions.
We are also encouraged to see a bi-lateral working group will be established to develop a joint water quality monitoring program for trans-boundary waters, and the working group will ensure this data is publicly available. We are confident that transparency with regard to water quality will help to alleviate the fears expressed with regard to the protection of rivers, watersheds and fisheries.
Overall we are confident the MOU will assist in ensuring both British Columbian and Alaskan industrial projects are held to the highest environmental scrutiny and standards, which will be a benefit for everyone.
It is also important to note that the KSM Tailings Management Facility is not located on a river system that drains into Alaska, contrary to many of the assertions made by those who are most vocal with regard to Trans-boundary development.