Assessors give magnetite miner green light

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has approved Eagle Industrial Minerals' plan to comb the tailings of the old Whitehorse Copper mine for iron-rich magnetite.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has approved Eagle Industrial Minerals’ plan to comb the tailings of the old Whitehorse Copper mine for iron-rich magnetite.

But this support comes with many strings attached, to help soften the project’s expected “significant adverse effects” on the surrounding environment and community.

Residents of Squatters’ Row, Mt. Sima Road and Canyon Crescent worry the work will cause a big racket. The company wants to run its operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week for eight or nine months each year during the project’s life of six or seven years.

Ore-filled trucks would leave the site for Skagway every 48 minutes, under the company’s plans.

Assessors recommend capping noise levels at 40 decibels at the lease property line during the night, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. That means heavy equipment that exceeds this limit wouldn’t be allowed to run through the night.

Trucking would also be forbidden during the night if it exceeds the 40-decibel limit. And trucks would be banned from using engine brakes at all hours on Mt. Sima Road or within one kilometre of residences along the Alaska or Klondike highways.

The project’s winter operations may be curtailed from December 1 to March 31 to avoid disturbing caribou habitat. If activities are planned during this time, the company would need to first contact Environment Yukon to obtain additional advice.

Another big concern of residents is that the project will pollute nearby groundwater. Assessors want to see ongoing monitoring to ensure this doesn’t happen. Water used by the project that doesn’t meet drinking-water standards would need to be cleaned up so that it does.

Assessors merely make recommendations. The final terms and conditions faced by the company will be decided by the territorial government.

Other conditions include working with local residents to cut new trails around the site and get input on how the two dams at the location can be torn down and the areas reseeded.

The company has already applied for a water licence for the operation. The Yukon Water Board couldn’t say how long it would take to reach a decision, or whether the project will require a public hearing.

Chuck Eaton, a California investment banker who is president of Eagle Industrial Metals, declined to comment this week.

With a additional reporting from John Thompson.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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