Canadian Mining Journal

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GOLD: Canadian agency dismisses complaints about KSM Permitting process



Toronto – Good news for Seabridge Gold Inc. as they announced today that Canada’s National Contact Point  has concluded that a complaint it received regarding aspects of the environmental assessment review process for the Company’s KSM Project did not merit further examination and its file has now been closed after only the initial assessment level of review.

KSM location. Image courtesy of Seabridge Gold.

The NCP operates within the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and promotes adherence to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) non-binding Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the “Guidelines”).

The NCP issued its statement in response to allegations made by the South East Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), a Non-Governmental Organization, that Seabridge violated the Guidelines by failing to disclose project documents and engage appropriately with stakeholders in Alaska and that the Company had not exercised sufficient due diligence regarding potential environmental and human rights impacts of the KSM Project. Seabridge received provincial and federal approvals for its KSM Project in northwestern British Columbia in 2014.

The NCP found that the KSM Project was subject to a rigorous and detailed environmental assessment process by both the federal and provincial governments. In its statement, the NCP reports that in its investigation into the complaint, which commenced in January of 2017, it discovered:

  • Seabridge had disclosed all of its relevant studies and plans related to the environment;
  • federal and provincial environmental assessment agencies conducted public consultations;
  • evidence that Seabridge had also engaged with Alaskans at multiple points during the environmental assessment process despite no legal requirement to do so;
  • the federal and provincial environmental assessment review processes included examination of all potential negative impacts and identification of mitigation measures where needed;
  • evidence that the concerns of stakeholders had been integrated into the environmental assessment process and ultimately had led to important changes in KSM Project design.

Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk stated: “We are pleased that the thoroughness of the federal and provincial joint environmental assessment review process for KSM has been acknowledged and that this complaint has been dismissed. I want to thank the Canada’s National Contact Point for its detailed investigation and reiterate that Seabridge remains committed to continuing engagement with the people of northwestern BC and southeastern Alaska, including Treaty and First Nations, as the KSM Project moves toward development.”

The NCP review process imposes confidentiality on its participants until release of its final statement.