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Proposed copper and gold mine rejected over salmon run fears

A spawning sockeye salmon is seen making its way up the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Chase, B.C., in October, 2011.

Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The B.C. government has rejected plans for a copper and gold mine in the province's northwest, saying the project could endanger salmon in the Skeena River.

Pacific Booker Minerals Inc. had proposed the mine at Morrison Lake, a 15-kilometre-long lake surrounded by Crown land near Smithers.

The lake is at the headwaters of the Skeena River, which produces the second-largest amount of sockeye salmon in B.C.

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The government's environmental assessment of the project found the mine could affect sockeye salmon populations as well as water quality in the lake, and the long-term environmental risks of the mine outweighed the potential benefits to the province.

Pacific Booker had planned to dig out 30,000 tonnes of copper and gold ore from the site each day over 21 years.

The nearby Babine Lake First Nation had earlier raised concerns about conservation of habitat and fish in the area if the mine was approved.

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