Blackwater Gold Project Environmental Assessment Review
Partners: New Gold Inc., Ulkatcho First Nation, Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation
Location: Nechako Plateau, BC
Date: 2015 to present
Description: KES was hired by the Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation to act as the technical review lead for the New Gold Inc. Blackwater Gold Project Environmental Assessment (EA) Review. In order to successfully review the complex 22 thousand-plus page document in a timely manner, KES brought on additional resources; this team included Shannon Shaw (Geochemist), John Brodie (Geotechnical Engineer), Stella Swanson (Risk Assessment & Cumulative Effects Expert), Clayton Apps (Wildlife Biologist), Kim Poole (Wildlife Biologist), Rina Freed (Environmental Engineer) and others. The KES team reviewed key parts of the EA document and uncovered a number of sizable technical issues which in turn has resulted in major technical improvements to the mine design, greatly reducing the potential environmental risks of the project and improving the understanding of local environmental values such as grizzly bear, moose and caribou. As part of the project, the KES team has made multiple presentations to the two communities where the projects key points were distilled down to layman terms to successfully engage the membership. In turn, KES brought the memberships concerns forward to the agencies and New Gold to ensure their voices were effectively heard. With the community knowledge, KES has attended Technical Working Group meetings and effectively promoted the community interests and concerns to ensure the best possible mine project was being considered.
Information regarding the EA process for the New Gold Inc. Blackwater Gold Project can be found here.
Blackwater Gold EA Documents
Who is Keefer Ecological Services?
EA Review Team
What is an EA?
Federal and BC EA processes
Core elements of the EA process
Project overview and goals
Use of the document
Opportunities and recommendations
New Gold's response
This briefing provides an update on the work of Keefer Ecological Services (KES) and its team of experts. As you are aware, KES was engaged by your community to conduct a third party techincal review of the Blackwater Environmental Assessment (EA). This document is concerning the higher level comments on the assessment.
Keefer Ecological Services (KES) presented this letter and document on behalf of Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhooks'uz Dene Nation. The New Gold Blackwater Gold Project sits on the traditional lands of these two Nations, which the Nations hold closely to their hearts.
The document is divided between the Aquatic and Engineering Technical Reviews and the Terrestrial Technical Reviews. Our comments centre on four general subject areas: water, wildlife, cumulative effects and socioeconomic effects.
Some general comments and questions regarding the New Gold Memorandum Response to comments on the Blackwater Gold Project.
Previous reviews of the Environmental Assessment (EA) identified serious deficiencies in the modelling of water quality within the mine area and the water management strategies during mine operations. Changes to the water quality modelling, mine water management, and associated impacts to the environment were submitted to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on August 12, 2016. The following documents, submitted by New Gold, were reviewed on behalf of Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation.
A review of the Blackwater Gold Project, the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, the Impact Benefit Agreement, education and training opportunities, and the historical signing of the MOU between the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), BC EAO, Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhoosk'uz Dene Nation.
Past Comments & Responses
Keefer Ecological Services traveled to Anahim Lake to present an update on Part C to the community and to get their input on important health values that they feel should be considered in Part C and the Environmental Assessment. BC EAO and CEAA representatives were also in attendance.