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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

RE: International coalition calls on BC to include Mount Polley investigation recommendations in mining code

By Brent Murphy


March 26, 2016
Saturday AM

I write you with respect to your article ”International coalition calls on BC to include Mount Polley investigation recommendations in mining code”, posted on March 22 on your web site and wish to express my disappointment that this article was posted without a fact check. The NGO’ s in their discussion on the KSM Project, which is owned by Seabridge, presented several inaccurate statements regarding the project. Specifically,

  1. KSM’s tailings facility is located on a watershed which drains entirely in to Canadian waters; we have explained this to Alaskans and the NGO’s many times.
  2. KSM was approved by both the Canadian federal and BC Provincial governments after a seven year Environmental Assessment review which involved the extensive participation of Alaskans. These agencies determined that KSM would not cause significant adverse effects, including downstream in Alaska. The federal decision came well after the Mount Polley incident
  3. KSM’s tailings facility was extensively reviewed during the EA review and does follow the recommendations of the Mount Polley report, including the proposed closure scenario.
  4. KSM’s tailings deposition methodology is considered BATT (best available tailings technology) because it offers both physical and chemical stability. Dry stack was considered and deemed inappropriate (and therefore not BATT) for KSM because it would result in a larger environmental footprint with increased disturbance and water treatment into perpetuity. Economics was not considered as a primary factor in the assessment.
  5. KSM’s tailings facility is different than Mt. Polley:
    • Plan a continuous discharge from the facility during the open water season, thus preventing the accumulation of water within the facility
    • Situated within a confining valley with dams at either end. It is not confined by a ring dyke.
    • KSM’s dams will be constructed with double cyclone sand with the appropriate slope angles and without till material.
    • Water within the facility will be kept well back from the dam crests – at least 500 metres
  6. Seabridge implemented an Independent Geotechnical Review Board to review the dam designs for KSM before it was recommended in the Mt. Polley report

In the future, I would be happy to check facts about Seabridge projects to ensure anti-mining bias is avoided and information presented is correct.


R. Brent Murphy
Vice President, Environmental Affairs
Seabridge Gold

Received March 25, 2016 - Published March 26, 2016


International coalition calls on BC to include Mount Polley investigation recommendations in mining code
SitNews - March 22, 2016


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