The Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) proposed mine is a massive project comprised of four deposits that would be mined as a combined open-pit and underground block-cave mine. The proposed operation is so big it would straddle two watersheds – the Unuk and the Nass – in two locations connected by twin 23-km (14 mile) long tunnels – extending under a glacier – which would transport miners and ore between the pits, and the mill and tailings impoundment. It is expected to process between 120,000 to 180,000 tonnes of ore per day over a mine life of 55 years. Opposition to the project has increased, with some analysts comparing it to the proposed Pebble Project in southwest Alaska.
Significant risks include:
- Unfavorable economics – KSM’s low grade ore, remote location and lack of infrastructure make its economics problematic according to analysts.
- Mining under glaciers has seldom been tried and is difficult – Very few mining companies have attempted it for a mine of this size, and significant operational challenges have occurred when they have, including tragic consequences.
- Unprecedented water management – KSM would need to process almost 21 BILLION gallons of water per year compared to Pebble’s proposed 13 billion and the Bingham Canyon mine’s 3 billion gallons per year.
- Legal uncertainties – the twin tunnels run under property claimed by two other companies who are currently suing each other. Both contest Seabridge’s access rights. First Nations also have concerns about the project.
- International opposition – KSM is opposed by eleven U.S. federally recognized tribes, and southeast Alaska’s billion-dollar commercial fishing industry.
Check out the report!