Kyle Clayton’s article on Constantine Metals and the Palmer Project last week raised important questions about the project and the company’s financial health that we should all consider.

While it’s tempting to wait and see how the project plays out, the reality is that decisions made and actions taken early on in the exploration process can have irreversible effects.

For example, if Constantine, or another company that takes its place, begins digging an underground exploration tunnel, the impacts are functionally the same as mining but without the payout. If the project hits acid-generating rock, that rock produces acid mine drainage when exposed to air and water, whether it happens during mining or exploration. Is Constantine prepared for this? We know they are struggling financially.

If this project requires water treatment where it’s not expected, will it have the capacity to prevent pollution? Water treatment could be necessary for perpetuity.

We already know Constantine cut corners on its waste management permit, submitting an incomplete application that lacked the data needed to determine a baseline for natural conditions. Where else are they skimping?

Remember, too, that Constantine is an exploration company — another company will likely develop the mine, if it comes to fruition. Any promises Constantine makes disappear when Constantine does.

This valley is so rich with salmon, wildlife, berries and clean water, are we willing to trade our lifestyle for a risky mining project with shaky economics? The view from downstream is grim.

Shannon Donahue