Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Mining experts to speak in valley


Four speakers with mining-related expertise will visit Haines and Klukwan next week for presentations and panel discussions on mining in Alaska.

The informational meetings will be held Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Chilkat Center and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Klukwan ANS Hall.

They are sponsored by the Takshanuk Watershed Council, Haines Chamber of Commerce, Constantine Metal Resources, Lynn Canal Conservation, Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association, Chilkoot Indian Association and Chilkat Indian Village.

Watershed council executive director Meredith Pochardt said the presentations have a general scope and aren’t targeted at any specific projects, including the potential development of the Palmer Project about 30 miles northwest of Haines.

“This is just purely for information on mining. It’s not targeted at Constantine. It’s about mining in Alaska. What are the different types of mines, what are the permitting steps, and how are the ways communities can be involved,” Pochardt said.

Though Constantine is sponsoring the discussions, Pochardt said she didn’t ask anyone from the company to speak.

“I purposely didn’t ask them to speak. This isn’t about the Constantine mine, specifically,” she said. “I asked them for speaker recommendations, and one of their recommendations is going to be there.”

That speaker is Kyle Moselle, the Department of Natural Resources’ Large Mine Project Manager. Moselle’s department is responsible for coordinating the permitting activities for large projects like the Red Dog, Greens Creek and Kensington mines, and the Pebble project.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Debra Schnabel said the watershed council approached the chamber several months ago to sponsor the event. The chamber decided to hold off until Takshanuk put together a list of presenters.

“We said, ‘If you get people together that are not politically aligned then we will be supportive of that.’ We’re trying to facilitate community discussion,” Schnabel said. “The chamber is not interested in sponsoring a symposium that attempted to persuade through the choice of its presenters.”

The chamber ultimately signed off on sponsoring the discussions, which in addition to DNR’s Moselle, will also feature Bob Loffler, a University of Alaska Anchorage professor in social and economic research and the former director of DNR’s Division of Mining, Land and Water.

Dave Chambers, director of the Center for Science in Public Participation, and Guy Archibald, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council’s Mining and Clean Water program manager, also will present.

Each presenter will speak for 20 minutes, followed by a panel discussion. Questions will be taken from the audience.

Takshanuk received a $3,000 grant from the Western Mining Action Network for the discussions.

Former Haines Borough Assembly member Schnabel and former Mayor Stephanie Scott attempted to organize borough-sponsored community forums and stakeholder meetings on the Palmer Project last summer.

Local conservation group Lynn Canal Conservation brought four presenters to Haines in the spring of 2014 to discuss various aspects of mining. The presentations were also funded by a grant from the Western Mining Action Network.


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