BC grants EA certificate for Adanac proposed open-pit molybdenum mine
Adanac Molybdenum (the proponent) has received an environmental assessment (EA) certificate from the British Columbia government for construction and operation of a new open-pit molybdenum mine and processing plant approximately 20 km northeast of Atlin.
Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld granted the EA certificate after considering the findings of a comprehensive review led by BC's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The EAO Assessment Report concluded that effects from the project will be within acceptable levels, subject to adherence to the application's design components and implementation of mitigation measures and commitments agreed to by Adanac, as the proponent.
The open-pit mine proposed for development would operate at 20,000 tonnes per day for more than 20 years. Project components include open pits, a tailings impoundment, waste rock storage facilities, site runoff, water diversion and sediment control; borrow pits, and overburden and topsoil storage; and a mill, an employee accommodation facility and other facilities such as sewage treatment and landfill.
The provincial EA certificate contains 190 commitments that the proponent must implement throughout the various phases of the project. Some key commitments include:
* implementing a monitoring and adaptive management plan for wildlife;
* rehabilitating wildlife habitat disturbed by the mine;
* implementing a fish habitat compensation plan;
* ensuring groundwater and surface water quality meet provincial environmental standards;
* locating the mine employee camp away from the community of Atlin wildlife and conducting a fly-in/fly-out operation;
* helping the community of Atlin and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation to develop a Community Adaptive Management and Monitoring Plan; and
* supporting the Taku River Tlingit's initiative to establish a Tlingit Cultural Enhancement Program.
Before the project can proceed, the company will have to obtain the necessary provincial licences, leases and other approvals.
The capital costs of the project are calculated at approximately $414 million, with $68.5 million to be spent over the life of the mine to replace capital equipment and sustain operations. Annual operating costs are estimated at $79.1 million. Construction is expected to take approximately two years and, once in production, the mine is expected to operate for more than 22 years.
Federal agencies were involved in the co-operative BC-Canada review, and a federal EA is in progress, with a conclusion on the federal screening report expected soon. The Taku River Tlingit First Nation was involved in all aspects of the review as well, including participation in the technical working group.
More information on the environmental assessment certificate can be found at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.