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Good News For The Taku

The Tulsequah Chief receivership is done.

Rivers Without Borders received the following statement from the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation on 8/12/22: “West Face Capital, Chieftain Metal’s Inc.’s primary secured creditor, did not file materials in the Ontario Superior court to seek to appoint a receiver by the court mandated deadline of August 11, 2022. The Province’s position is that this concludes the receivership process.”

Two years ago Chieftain/West Face requested an extension of the receivership which was initiated in 2015 when Chieftain declared bankruptcy. Despite objection from the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, BC let the court know it was ok with the receivership being extended, and it was indeed granted or at least left open to possible extension. As long as this was the case, BC took the position that it could not take aggressive action to close and clean up Tulsequah Chief, as doing so would supposedly diminish the value of the asset in receivership, in this case a notorious long abandoned and polluting mine.

That there might be an attempt to renew the receivership, and that BC and the court might agree to it, thereby continuing to impede real progress on the remediation, was a possibility. But fortunately that didn’t happen amidst strong showings of opposition to a renewal – and support for transitioning the lower Taku beyond mining – from both sides of the border.

So a major impediment to ending Tulsequah Chief’s pollution and moving beyond the threat of new mining in the Taku is now gone. We don’t expect this will mean major on the ground remediation work gets started this year, but it should make it possible next season, as we continue calling for its prioritization.

This is the third summer that a crew has been on site doing stabilization work and preparing for bigger efforts. Studies continue, the remediation plan continues to evolve, and notably Teck Resources has put another $1.6 million toward these efforts. Most important, a no new staking reserve is also in place in the lower Taku.

Celebration would be premature for sure, but good things are happening toward keeping the 4.5 million acre Taku intact, wild, thriving, and eventually pristine as well.

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