Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Flowing from the northern corner of British Columbia in Canada to the Inside Passage of Alaska, the Taku River is surrounded by a dramatic river valley now threatened by road development to support the Redfern Mine.

Taku River Tinglit First Nation

British Columbia's ambition to open new mines in the province's north has raised fears in neighbouring Alaska, where environmental and aboriginal groups say the unchecked development threatens their salmon and tourism industries.

Tribal leaders and salmon-protection advocates gathered at a Bureau of Indian Affairs conference in Anchorage on Tuesday, and high on the agenda was the impact of B.C. mineral developments on the multibillion-dollar Alaskan industries.

Conference delegates called on the U.S. State Department to use the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty to activate the International Joint Commission, hold boundary dispute hearings and discuss the important salmon waterways, the communities they support and the risks of mine contamination.

Story continues below advertisement

"We're asking the U.S. federal government to elevate this issue to the International Joint Commission," said Guy Archibald, a spokesman for the southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Mr. Archibald said conservation and aboriginal groups have formed the Salmon Beyond Borders coalition to lobby their government to put pressure on Ottawa and B.C.

He said both Canada and the United States must formally request the International Joint Commission hearings.

"We see this region for its salmon and cultural benefits, and it seems like Northwest B.C., in the same region, looks more toward mineral development as being the best use of the land, so we see there's kind of a conflict going on here," Mr. Archibald said in an interview.

The Alaskans say rapid industrial mine developments in B.C. threaten the headwaters of some of southeast Alaska's prime salmon rivers, including the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers, which flow through Canada's westernmost province.

The Alaskans say they are some of the most productive salmon rivers on the entire North American West Coast, and have ecological, cultural and recreational uses and values.

Mr. Archibald said the Alaskans are deeply concerned about what they consider loose mining regulations in B.C., especially since last summer's tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake, in B.C.'s central Interior.

Story continues below advertisement

Millions of litres of mine water and waste gushed over the landscape near Likely, B.C., last August and shut down operations at the Imperial Metals open pit, copper and gold mine.

Opposition New Democrat energy and mines critic Norm Macdonald said the Mount Polley breach makes it difficult for mining companies in Canada and the United States to persuade the public their industry operates with minimal risks. He said he expects U.S. challenges to mining proposals in B.C.

"The failure at Mount Polley complicates everything for the industry," said Mr. Macdonald. "It complicates the social licence that's needed for mining. Of course, when it crosses a boundary there are additional tools that the Americans will have that could slow down projects or in some case make them so complicated that they may not proceed."

Mr. Archibald said a visit to Alaska last month by B.C.'s Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett did not alleviate concerns about future disasters in the province's northwest.

"He was trying to tamp down some of the bad press over the Mount Polley tailings disaster," said Mr. Archibald.

"He basically equated what happened at Imperial Metals Mount Polley mine to a large avalanche. That's the kind of rhetoric that really worries people in southeast Alaska."

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Bennett travelled to Alaska, spoke to the annual Alaska Miners Association convention in Anchorage and met with state officials and fishing organizations.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies