September 8, 2015 – Gibraltar Mines’ proposal to discharge up to 50 per cent more of its untreated tailings water into the already heavily impacted Fraser River should be a major concern for the public.
The Fraser River currently has some of the highest water temperatures and lowest flows on record while trying to house BC salmon stocks as they migrate north every year.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) is very concerned that the discharge of pollution from Gibraltar’s tailing storage facility will cause negative and irreversible damage to the Fraser River and the species it supports.
There are nine confirmed contaminants that are above aquatic life guidelines, one of which is harmful to grazing animals and others that are known toxins for sturgeon. If we have learned one thing from the Mount Polley disaster it’s that our water systems must be protected as first priority, no matter the financial or bureaucratic burden that mining companies may face.
The TNG is watching this permit closely and wants to ensure the protection of the Fraser River and all that benefit from it.
In the end, we hope Gibraltar Mines will let the benefits outweigh the cost of developing an alternative plan to polluting the Fraser River.
We are certainly prepared to engage with the company to develop the alternative.
Chief Joe Alphonse
Tsilhqot’in National Government