Following a decision by George Heyman, Minister Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Bruce Ralston, Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Pacific Booker Minerals Incorporated, a certificate of environmental assessment will not be issued for the Morrison Copper/Gold Project.
The company proposed an open pit copper, gold, and molybdenum mine with ancillary facilities. It is located approximately 65 km northeast of Smithers. The proposed mine site was on the territory of Lake Babine Nation, and upstream of territories of Gitanyow First Nations. A portion the proposed transmission line was located on the territory Yekooche First Nation.
PBM applied for an environmental assessment certificate for the first time in 2010. Ministers rejected the application in 2012. This was on the recommendation from the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) executive director.
- The Skeena River sockeye could be affected by a unique wild sockeye salmon fish population.
- This case was rejected because of the potential for long-term liabilities for the province and the risk to the environment.
- There is not enough data about Morrison Lake. It was not considered a risk that the lake’s long-term water quality would be affected.
PBM initiated a judicial review of the decision and in December 2013 the B.C. Supreme Court set aside the 2012 decision and directed that the application for an environmental assessment certificate be reconsidered because the proponent did not have the opportunity to review and comment on the EAO executive director’s recommendations that were provided to ministers for decision.
Ministers began a reconsideration of the application and considered the views of PBM on the EAO executive director’s recommendation. In August 2014, the Minister of Environment suspended the reconsideration process to allow the EAO to seek the views of PBM and Indigenous Nations on the report of the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel into the failure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley Mine to further inform the ministers’ decision.
On July 7, 2015, following the reconsideration process, the ministers ordered the project to undergo further assessment to collect additional baseline information and analysis to ensure a thorough and accurate analysis of the project’s risks to water quality, salmon and the broader environment. Ministers issued a Further Assessment Order that detailed the information PBM would need in order to continue the development of the project. First, submit a satisfactory draft Supplemental Information Requirements document (SAIR). PBM submitted three draft SAIRs from 2016 to 2021 that failed to meet the requirements of the Further Assessment Order.
To address the lackluster progress, the EAO suggested options for progressing or completing further assessment and engaged with PBM (Pathen, Lake Babine), Gitanyow Gitxsan, Yekooche First Nations and Gitxsan. The consensus option reached by all parties was either a preference or a non-objection for the Further Assessment Order being rescinded. The Further Assessment Order was repealed Dec. 2, 2021. Ministers received the decision materials from 2015 to make a decision whether to issue an environment assessment certificate for Morrison Copper/Gold Project.
PBM has not provided additional information to show that the Morrison Copper/Gold Project can reduce fish and water quality risks. Therefore, the ministers decided not to issue an environment assessment certificate.
To view the ministers’ reasons for decision and other information on the project, please visit the project page on the EAO website: https://www.projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/588510b4aaecd9001b81467b/