CBC/AP – Alaska natives sue over B.C. company’s exploration plans near eagle preserve. Tlingit village of Klukwan wants permits revoked from Constantine Metal Resources, for area near Haines

An Alaska Native tribe and three environmental groups sued the U.S. government, claiming an agency granted mineral exploration permits without considering how a mine could affect a major salmon river and bald eagle preserve.

The lawsuit filed Monday by the Chilkat Indian village of Klukwan calls for revocation of the permits granted to B.C.-based Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. upstream of the Chilkat River near the port of Haines in southeast Alaska. Tlingit Indians thrived because of the abundance of salmon in the watershed, Klukwan tribal president Kimberly Strong said in a statement.

“Hardrock mining is a threat to our Chilkat wild stock salmon and the sustainability of our community,” she said. The lawsuit contends the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued permits after considering the effects of exploration but not of a mine. … Vancouver-based Constantine Metal Resources Ltd., was formed in 2006 to explore for copper, zinc, gold and silver in what it’s calling the Palmer Project, about 56 kilometres northwest of Haines, a fishing and tourism community

… Critics fear tailings ponds that could breech and send acid-mine drainage or other mine pollution into downstream waters. The exploration is near creeks and a river that drains into the Chilkat River, home to five species of salmon, steelhead and trout. The surrounding area is habitat for mountain goats, moose and grizzly bears and is best known for an early winter gathering of bald eagles.

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