Pacific Booker Minerals in court

Mine company sues province over Northern B.C. mine.

Pacific Booker Minerals (PBM) has its day in court.

The Vancouver-based mining company is suing the province over the Ministry of Environment’s refusal to sign off on a required environmental assessment certificate (EAC) last October.

Pacific Booker Minerals had completed almost 10 years of environmental and cultural study, and spent over $10 million on the environmental assessment process for the Morrison copper/gold mine project proposed for near Granisle B.C.

The resulting provincial environmental assessment report appeared to offer conditional support for the project, including approval that adequate consultation with First Nations over concerns regarding potential impacts to downstream salmon fisheries had been obtained.

The mining industry, and PBM, were taken by surprise when, on Oct. 1, 2012, Rich Coleman, then provincial minister of environment refused to grant the certificate, citing risk/benefit considerations that the EAC did not take into account.

The refusal to gain an EAC meant that the Morrison mine project had lost its legs. Pacific Booker Minerals would have to restart the entire environmental assessment process if it wanted the province to reconsider the project.

“The company believes the government erred in overlooking conclusions in their own 206-page comprehensive assessment report dated Aug. 21, 2012,” said Erik Tornquist, PBM chief executive officer. “That report, which represented the culmination of an environmental assessment process that lasted almost 10 years and cost the company approximately $10 million, stated that, based upon successful implementation of mitigation measures and legally-binding conditions, the environmental assessment office ‘is satisfied that the proposed project is not likely to have significant adverse effects.’”

On Aug. 7, 2013, Pacific Booker Mineral’s day in court began. Vancouver lawyer John Hunter is representing PBM in their bid to have the B.C. Supreme Court overturn minister Coleman’s decision.

Court proceedings were expected to stretch out over the week. No decision had been reached at press time.

As reported at the time in Lakes District News, the refusal of an environmental certificate resulted in a 50 per cent drop in PBM stock value amounting to $140 million in equity losses for investors.