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Seabridge Gold applies to extend KSM environmental permit

Seabridge Gold (TSX: SEA) (NYSE: SA) has taken steps to ensure that the environmental permit for its KSM copper-gold project in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle would remain in effect beyond its expiration date.

On Wednesday, its wholly owned subsidiary KSM Mining applied to the BC Environment Assessment Office for a ‘substantially started’ status, which, if approved, would make KSM’s environmental assessment certificate (EAC) valid for the life of the project.

The BC Environmental Assessment Act stipulates that an EAC will expire if a project has not been substantially started by the deadline specified in the certificate. In KSM’s case, the deadline is July 29, 2026.

However, the the province’s minister of environment and climate change strategy may determine that a project has been ‘substantially started’ before this deadline, in which case the EAC will remain in effect beyond that date.

In determining whether a project has been substantially started, the minister assesses on a project-specific basis whether sufficient permanent on-site physical improvements have been completed to warrant the designation. Examples of BC mining projects designated as ‘substantially started’ include Galore Creek, Kemess and Kitsault.

“We look forward to working with the BC EAO and First Nations on the review of our application. The permanent physical improvements we have made to the KSM site are truly impressive,” Seabridge chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk commented in a press release.

“Since launching our early construction program three years ago, a proposed mine development that only existed on paper is now taking physical shape on the ground with roads and bridges, permanent living facilities for our personnel, hydroelectric power infrastructure and new fish habitat compensation projects.”

In the press release, Seabridge noted that it has spent over C$997 million since acquiring the project in 2001, of which C$805 million has been spent after the issuance of the EAC in July 2014. Since 2021, when it made the decision to commence early construction activities, C$444 million has been spent on project construction, focusing on the development of permanent infrastructure on site.

According to the Canadian miner, the KSM project represents a multi-generational mine boasting the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world as well as the largest gold resource. A 2022 preliminary feasibility study (PFS) estimated KSM’s proven and probable reserves at 7.3 billion lb. of copper and 47.3 million oz. of gold.

Construction of the copper-gold mine is expected to take five years, followed by an environmental assessment-approved production of 50-plus years, averaging 366 million lb. of copper and 368,000 oz. of gold per year.

The project is located about 65 km north of Stewart, 20 km northwest of the now-closed Eskay Creek mine and 30 km northeast of the Alaska border.

Shares of Seabridge Gold fell by 1.6% as of 1:30 p.m. ET. The North America-focused miner has a market capitalization of C$1.2 billion ($890m).

Source: MINING.COM – Read More