An Alaskan delegation including Sharon Thompson (left)

An Alaskan delegation including Sharon Thompson (left)

Alaskans take first-hand look at spill

Members of the United Tribe of Bristol Bay in Alaska were in Likely Saturday to hear about the aftermath of the Aug. 4 tailings breach.

Members of the United Tribe of Bristol Bay in Alaska were in Likely Saturday to hear firsthand about the aftermath of the Aug. 4 Mount Polley Mine tailings breach.

They attended a portion of the open house at the Quesnel River Research Centre and toured the mine site with members of the Soda Creek Indian Band and Northern Shuswap Tribal Council.

“We have the proposed Northern Dynasty Minerals Pebble Mine in our territory,” said Gary Cline of Alaska. “It is potentially the largest copper gold open pit mine in North America at the headwaters of the largest wild sockeye run in the world.”

The group wanted to take a look at the mine spill for themselves, he said.

“In its proposal the Pebble partnership refers back to Mount Polley Mine,” explained Bonnie Gestring of Montana.

“Pebble hired Knight Piesold Ltd. to construct its tailing dam, the same company that constructed Mount Polley’s.”

Soda Creek Indian Band Chief Bev Sellars said the two groups were connected by Amy Crook, of the Fair Mining Collaborative, who worked in Alaska as an inspector of mines and was involved with the environmental cleanup of the Exon Valdez.

“We pulled Amy in to work for the band after the Mount Polley breach,” Sellars said.

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