ATLIN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2012) - The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) is not in support of the proposed Tulsequah Chief Project proceeding with government approval processes in the absence of a fully operational water treatment plant and updated feasibility study.
Chieftain Metals shut down the operations of its recently installed water treatment plant, and is now discharging acid mine drainage into the Tulsequah river putting our salmon fisheries at risk. This is a breach of their waste discharge permits.
Chieftain Metals made a commitment to the TRTFN, both verbally and in writing that they would construct and operate the Water Treatment Plant, which lies at the base of a good working relationship between TRTFN and Chieftain. Shutting down the water treatment plant indefinitely, largely for financial reasons, has undermined our confidence in Chieftain Metal's ability to live up to its current commitments, let alone successfully develop, operate and close a complex mine.
Significant delays in releasing an updated feasibility study (originally anticipated in December 2011) raise substantial concern about the economic viability of the project, which is essential to responsible and sustainable development.
TRTFN has made it clear to Chieftain Metals and the province that it would be irresponsible to continue with government assessment processes and approvals for a company that has abandoned their current commitments with the water treatment plant and, to date, is unable to demonstrate that they will be able to finish what they start.
There is no rush for government approvals at this time. With no updated feasibility study and extremely limited funds, the company is unable to begin construction in the near future anyway. At this time, Chieftain Metals proving their ability to responsibly construct and operate their proposed mine should be the first priority of government approvals.
As a responsible government, and as land owners, the TRTFN must ensure its time and resources are directed to financially viable and environmentally responsible projects. The currently proposed Tulsequah Chief Project does not meet these minimum requirements. As a result, TRTFN government has suspended its assessment processes and consideration of any project approvals.
For more detailed information on these and other Tulsequah related issues, please visit the "Tulsequah Chief Project" section of our TRTFN website (www.trtfn.org), which also includes a "Recent Activities" sub-page that provides updates on the status of this project.