Quintette caribou herd stops Sukunka coal mine

CHETWYND, B.C. — A B.C. environmental assessment certificate will not be issued for the proposed Sukunka coal mine project due to the effects it may have on the Quintette caribou herd.

The decision was made by George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, after considering the project’s environmental assessment.

B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office completed the assessment.

The assessment of the proposed project by Glencore involved consultation with technical experts, federal and local authorities, First Nations and the public, according to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).

The EAO recommended a certificate not be issued after deciding that the mitigation measures proposed would be “unlikely” to reduce the potential negative impacts of the project.

The assessment found the project would have adverse and cumulative effects on the threatened Quintette caribou herd, increasing the risk of its extinction.

The EAO concluded that the impacts on the caribou would be significant, following discussions between Glencore, caribou experts, Treaty 8 First Nations and the EAO.

Additionally, the EAO’s assessment found the project would also affect grizzly bears and impact First Nations, such as treaty rights to hunt.

The Sukunka project was proposed by Glencore as an open-pit mining operations and coal processing plant about 55 kilometres south of Chetwynd and 40 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge, according to the EAO.

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