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The conflict over putting in a hard-rock mine near the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska took a new turn recently with the filing of a lawsuit by an Alaska Native Tlingit tribe and three environmental groups. The group is suing the Bureau of Land Management, saying that the agency granted mineral exploration permits without considering how a mine could affect the Chilkat River's salmon and the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
Constantine Metal Resources and investment partner Dowa Metals & Mining Co., Ltd. of Japan are exploring a potential site for a mine on the steep mountain slopes pictured above Glacier Creek. This area is known as the Palmer Deposit.
Joining the Tlingit village of Klukwan in the lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management are the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Lynn Canal Conservation and Rivers Without Borders. They are represented by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm. The group is asking for mining permits to be revoked.
In August 2015, Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia submitted a plan with the BLM to extend their existing access road by 2.5 miles including a switchback road leading to a staging area at the 800 ft. level on the side of the 1,700 ft. mountainside (left). A proposed bridge crossing Glacier Creek would be located in the shadow area in the lower center of the photo with a switchback road leading from the Glacier Creek to the staging area for helicopter and ground-supported activities on the left. The road would also provide access for up to 40 new exploration drill sites. Pictured in the background is the Klehini River. A map showing exactly how this road would appear can be found here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/54990/65845/71485/Figure_6.4_accessible.pdf
The group suing is concerned that copper and other heavy metals in mine waste might leech into the nearby Klehini River and the Chilkat River, 14 miles downstream.
- Constantine Palmer Deposit aerial -3.jpg
- © John L. Dengler
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Alaska America Chilkat River Constantine Metal Resources Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. Constantine Mine Constantine North Inc. Dowa Dowa Metals Dowa Metals & Mining Dowa Metals & Mining Co. Ltd. Earthjustice Glacier Creek Glacier Creek Deposit Glacier Creek Prospect Glacier Creek VMS deposit Haines Klehini River Klukwan Lynn Canal Conservation North America Palmer Deposit Palmer Exploration Project Palmer VMS project Rivers Without Borders SEACC Saksaia Glacier Southeast Alaska Conservation Council U.S. US USA United States United States of America aerial aerial view horizontal mine exploration mineral exploration mining nature no people nobody outdoor outdoors outside southeast Alaska