I write to clarify several misconceptions that appeared in your June 6 article about the Whitehorse Copper tailings project:
1) Your article states that there are residents 500 metres away from the site. However, the distance between the closest house in Canyon Crescent and the north end of the B Valley dam is about 800 metres. (The B dam is the closest spot an excavator or dozer will be used.)
2) It was asserted in the article that the plan for 24-hour operation was only recently disclosed. However, this operating plan has been part of the public record since the first filing with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board on March 14, 2011.
Additionally, the project held public meetings on October 19, 2010 and December 14, 2011, and 24-hour operation was described at those meetings, as well as in a previous article in the Yukon News (October 22, 2010, “Treasure in the Tailings”). All nearby residents were invited to those public meetings by posting notices on their doors, in addition to the public notices in newspapers, on bulletin boards, etc.
3) The article states that 100 decibels is the noise level of an excavator working in sand. This is correct and appropriate because the tailings are fine-grained sand.
At the end of the project life, the dams at the ends of the A and B valleys will be decommissioned to allow them to naturally return to a green state. When decommissioning the dams, multiple excavators and dozers will likely be working in the sand, gravel, and crushed rock which comprises the dams.
At no time will the excavator be “breaking rocks” as your article incorrectly asserts. The project has agreed to not operate from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the short period (probably a couple months) at the very end of the project when the dams will be decommissioned so as not to inconvenience local residents.
We would also like to emphasize that the project’s initial activity will be to treat the entire pit lake to improve the water quality to meet existing drinking water guidelines. This improvement to area groundwater should be welcomed by all nearby residents.
Charles Eaton, president
Eagle Industrial Metals