Morrison mine project

What’s the next step for Pacific Booker Minerals as they look to break ground?

Pacific Booker Minerals (PBM) has taken the next step in their attempts to break ground on the Morrison Mine project.

The proposed mine, which would be a conventional, open pit mine operating near Morrison Lake, 35 km north of the Village of Granisle, had its attempts at securing an environmental assessment certificate denied in Oct. 2012.

However, a ruling in December 2013 by the B.C. Supreme Court overturned the Environmental Assessment Office’s original ruling due to the fact that PBM didn’t receive adequate ‘procedural fairness’ because they were not provided with the opportunity to respond to the final recommendation from the executive director.

Now, PBM has taken the necessary next steps afforded them in their attempts to obtain an environmental assessment certificate.

The application was remitted to the Minister of Environment and Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas for reconsideration.

This time, PBM was provided with a copy of the recommendations, and afforded the opportunity to provide a written response to the recommendations before a further decision was made, something that PBM has done.

Chief operating officer of PBM, Erik Tornquist said, “On March 10, 2014, the company provided a response to the recommendations of the executive director’s report of Sept. 20, 2012. The company’s response was sent to the working group and First Nations for comment.”

The proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mine requires an environmental assessment certificate because it is a new metal mine with an ore production capacity which exceeds the reviewable projects regulation threshold of 75,000 tonnes per year.

In fact, the proposed mine would produce 30,000 tonnes of ore per day over the 21-year life of the mine.

The mine would employ 1117 part-time. full-time and temporary workers per year over two-years during construction of the mine, and would employ 601 part-time, full-time and temporary jobs over the 21-year life of the mine.

It is estimated that total provincial revenue over the life of the mine would be $64.5 million.

A big obstacle for this project for PBM is the proposed mine would be built and operational on LBN land.

Lake Babine Nation has a strong case for both aboriginal land title and aboriginal rights, and are vehemently opposed to the building of the mine.

In PBM’s original application, a letter dated July 26, 2012, from Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam stated that LBN opposes the project because it would “significantly impact our fishing and other rights, including our aboriginal title.”

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) denied the original application based on three reasons.

Firstly, the EAO determined that there is the potential to impact a genetically unique sockeye salmon population that contributes to the Skeena River sockeye population, which is the second largest sockeye salmon population in B.C.

Secondly, it was determined that the potential long term liability for the province and the risk to the environment were not acceptable in this case.

Finally, it was determined that there is insufficient data  about the behaviour of the lake and the potential diminished long term water quality in Morrison Lake is not an acceptable risk.

Pacific Booker Minerals received comments from the working group and First Nations on April 29, 2014, and provided a response to those comments on May 23.

For now, PBM waits for the next step in the process to take place.

“The company is now waiting for the executive director to inform the company of the next steps,” Tornquist said.

A timeline for when those next steps will take place has yet to be determined.