Granisle will likely not see any prosperity from the planned Morrison mine project. Pacific Booker Minerals’ (PBM) application for an environmental assessment certificate was denied on Oct. 1 by the B.C. Ministry of Environment. The proposed project was to be located at Morrison Lake, 65 kilometres north of Smithers at the headwaters of the Skeena River.
In an Oct. 2, 2012 press release from the Lake Babine Nation, Morrison Lake is described as an important spawning ground for Sockeye Salmon. Juvenile sockeye spend two years in the lake before migrating into Babine Lake and beyond.
“Sockeye salmon is a renewable resource at the hart of our culture and communities,” said Chief Adam. “Threatening our salmon threatens us as a people.”
The Babine Lake salmon fishery is coming off of two years of strong development and is an important source of employment and income for Lake Babine Nation. “We can’t risk trading a renewable, sustainable fishery for a non-renewable mine that will leave a legacy of contaminants and toxins in our territory,” said Chief Adam.
As reported by the Lakes District News on April 14, 2010 the project would have cumulatively created 1,117 jobs in each year of the three year construction phase, with an estimated $79 million increase to household income in the area over the three year construction phase.
The Lake Babine Nation has had serious concerns regarding the mine development application since it was proposed in 2003. However, as late as Aug. 29, 2011 LBN believed that these issues could have been resolved, but a proposal to line a tailings pond with a membrane ultimately failed to satisfy their concerns.
In 2010, the Village of Granisle had filed a submission in support of the project. The village had been looking forward to a possible influx of economic activity and the return of services to the town which has seen its population shrink from a high in 1979 of almost 2,000 people to its current population of just over 300 people (according to 2011 census data).
The project is also being considered by the federal environmental assessment agency. Although the federal agency acts independently of the provincial agency, both Chief Adam and Granisle Mayor Linda.