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The Saksaia Glacier sits at the top of the Glacier Creek valley near the location of the potential mine site being explored by Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia along with investment partner Dowa Metals & Mining Co., Ltd. of Japan. The area of exploration, known as the Palmer Deposit is located near mile 40 of the Haines Highway and the Porcupine placer gold mining area near Haines, Alaska.
The minerals that Constantine’s drilling explorations have found are primarily copper and zinc, with significant amounts of gold and silver. Exploratory drilling to refine the location and mineral amounts are the current focus of the company.
If approved and developed, the mine would be an underground mine. Besides the actual ore deposits, having the nearby highway access for transporting ore to the deepwater port at Haines is also attractive to Constantine.
Support for a large scale mine such as the Constantine project is divided among residents of Haines, a small community in Southeast Alaska 75 miles northwest of Juneau. The community’s needed economic boost from jobs, development and other mine support that a large-scale mine brings is tempting to some. To others, anything that might put the salmon spawning and rearing habitat and watershed resources at risk is simply unimaginable and unacceptable. Of particular concern is copper and other heavy metals in mine waste leaching into the Klehini and Chilkat River. Copper and heavy metals are toxic to salmon and bald eagles.
The Chilkat River chum salmon are the primary food source for one of the largest gatherings of bald eagles in the world. Each fall, bald eagles congregate in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, located only three miles downriver from the area of current exploration. At times more than 3,000 eagles have been recorded at the primary gathering area for the fall chum salmon run.
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- © 2014 John L. Dengler
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Alaska America Chilkat River Earthjustice Glacier Creek Haines Klehini River Klukwan Lynn Canal Conservation North America Rivers Without Borders SEACC Saksaia Glacier Southeast Alaska Conservation Council U.S. US USA United States United States of America glacier glaciers hard-rock mine hardrock mine landscape landscapes mine mine site nature no people nobody outdoor outdoors outside scenery scenic southeast Alaska vertical