Green light for new BC underground gold mine

11th October 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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The Cariboo underground gold mine, located in the historical Wells-Barkerville mining camp of central British Columbia, has received environmental approval.

The project, owned by Osisko Development, is the first to be entirely assessed under the province’s new 2018 Environmental Assessment Act.

Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman and Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Minister Josie Osborne imposed 22 legally binding conditions in the environmental assessment certificate to prevent or reduce potential adverse impacts from the mine.

Some of these conditions include limiting the maximum allowable noise from the project by performing blasting only during the day, using vegetation to screen buildings and other facilities to minimise visual impacts for residents and visitors, limiting truck traffic in residential areas, strict policies around work camps and hiring 75% of workers from the region.

Osisko must establish a new, clean drinking water supply for the district of Wells. The company must also implement measures to reduce emissions and maintain air quality, and manage its impact on the environment, particularly to mitigate impacts to wildlife, habitat and bodies of water.  

Osisko will work with the province to support remediation in the district of Wells and along the shore of Jack of Clubs, contaminated by a previous mine’s tailings containing arsenic, cobalt, cadium and other contaminants.  

The company must develop a specific plan to minimise impacts to the Barkerville woodland caribou herd, the province stated.

The Minister noted that the Cariboo mine will. Provide benefits to the province, local community and First Nations.

The project will employ an average of 200 workers during construction, peaking at close to 300 workers, and will employ almost 500 during operations.

The Cariboo mine will produce an average of 164 000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $968/oz over its 12-year mine life.

Initial capital of C$137.4-million is required, followed by expansion capital of C$451.1-million.

Under the 2018 Environmental Assessment Act, the First Nations participating in the process have the opportunity to provide consent or lack of consent for the project. All three Nations in whose territory project activities will occur participated in the assessment. Lhtako Dene Nation and Williams Lake Nation provided notices of consent and Xatsull First Nation advised the Ministers that the did not object the project.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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