Recent Activities

On July 16, 2012, the Taku River Tlingit First Nation ("TRTFN”) advised both Chieftain Metals and BC that due to a combination of critical issues (outlined below), TRTFN is pulling the TRTFN technical teams from the Environmental Assessment Office & Northwest Mine Development Review Committee tables.

We are responsible to ensure TRTFN time and resources are spent responsibly and that all pieces are in place for the TRTFN Government to make a decision on the Tulsequah project in accordance with our TRTFN Mining Policy, Letter of Understanding with Chieftain Metals, Wóoshtin wudidaa: Atlin Taku Land Use Plan, Wóoshtin Yan Too.Aat: Land and Resource Management and Shared Decision Making Agreement, TRTFN Constitution Act, 1993 and Tlingit khustìyxh, or ‘way of life’.

Despite serious concerns with various items (for example, the poor quality of the amended application to the EAO, continued delays over the past few months with the company’s construction plans and start-up activities, along with delays in information being provided at the EA and permitting tables), the TRTFN had continued to work within these processes that are now well behind schedule and incurring additional expense. However, in light of recent developments, there are simply too many breaches, gaps and questions around the viability of the currently proposed Tulsequah Project for TRTFN to continue on as though we are meaningfully meeting the requirements set out in the agreements and legislation stated above. Therefore, at this time, it is no longer financially or environmentally responsible for the TRTFN to continue in this manner until the below issues are adequately addressed.

Water Treatment Plant

Chieftain Metals shutting down the water treatment plant for an unspecified amount of time is of extreme concern to the TRTFN. [Please refer to the "Water Treatment Plant” webpage for more information.] As a result, the company is now in violation of both federal and provincial waste discharge permits, and has breached the understanding we had with them in our Letter of Understanding. The material effect of this action is that it allows acid mine drainage to discharge unabated and untreated into the Tulsequah River. This discharge places both TRTFN aboriginal and commercial fishery resource values at risk.

Construction and operation of the water treatment plant was one of the strongest, most positive commitments Chieftain Metals made to the TRTFN. To hear that the water treatment plant has been shut down completely and indefinitely, largely for financial reasons, has undermined our confidence in Chieftain Metal’s ability to live up to its current commitments – as well as successfully develop, operate and adequately close a complex mine.

The company’s inability to properly construct and operate the water treatment plant during the start-up phase brings to light that TRTFN should not continue in a process that would provide further approvals and issue amendments to the existing environmental certificate and the special use permit while Chieftain is in breach of current permitting conditions and commitments. TRTFN must ensure we are committing time and resources to a viable and responsible project and not remain involved in processes that, currently, pose a potential risk of further harm to the environment.

TRTFN has firmly expressed our positions to both the province and the company, and we are actively pursuing action regarding the water treatment plant.

Feasibility Study

TRTFN is extremely challenged trying to assess Chieftain Metal’s project decisions in the absence of an updated feasibility study. This was anticipated back in December 2011.

Significant delays in releasing the feasibility study raise substantial concern about the economic viability of the project, which is essential to responsible and sustainable development. TRTFN must have confidence that we are dealing with a viable project. In order to have that confidence, we must see an updated feasibility study at this late stage.

Impacts, Mitigation & Mutual Benefits Agreement

After several months of negotiations, there is still no agreement on several key sections of the Impacts, Mitigation & Mutual Benefits Agreement [often referred to as an Impacts & Benefits Agreement or IBA].

In accordance with our TRTFN Mining Policy, this agreement is required for the TRTFN to make a decision on the Tulsequah Project.

Downstream Access

There were some funding challenges in completing an independent review of Downstream (i.e. barging) access to the mine site which significantly delayed the submission of the independent review to the TRTFN. However, an independent review of the physical aspects of downstream access has now been completed and yields findings that are different than the conclusions of Chieftain Metals’ Impracticability Report.

To date, TRTFN has been unable to complete a financial independent review of downstream access, as an updated feasibility report has not yet been made available.

Clarity on the above issues will be required for TRTFN to make a decision on access to the proposed mine site.

Funding

Given the fact that all of the timelines for this work have gone well beyond the original targeted timelines and scope of work, the TRTFN have now utilized all resources available to continue and complete the work required to bring this forward to a Joint Clan Meeting for decision. Therefore, additional funding will have to be secured, in conjunction with resolution to the above stated issued.

We look forward to having the above issues resolved and hearing some creative solutions from Chieftain Metals on a positive way to move forward that meets the needs of all involved.

We would like to advise our members that we will continue to update the Tulsequah section of our website as new information arrives.