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Seabridge Gold applies for substantially started status for KSM project

The Canadian mining company has submitted their application to the B.C. Government
The KSM mining site, located about 65 km north-northwest of Steward, B.C., taken in 2012 (Photo courtesy of Seabridge Gold)

Seabridge Gold has taken the next step to securing a lifetime certificate for its northwest B.C. gold mine project.

The Toronto-based mining company, with offices in Smithers and Terrace, announced in mid-January that the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project has applied to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) for a Substantially Started Determination (SSD).

They are currently pursuing the development of the gold, silver, molybdenum and copper mine in northwest B.C.’s “Golden Triangle.”

A positive SSD from the EAO will allow the KSM project’s Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC) to remain in effect for the entirety of the project. Under the Environmental Assessment Act, a project’s EAC expires if the project has not been substantially started by the deadline specified in the EAC. The original EAC for KSM, which has already received an extension, is set to expire on July 29, 2026.

The EAO decision is based on whether the project has been started in a real and tangible way, especially when it comes to physical activities affecting the land.

As account director Kamran Shaikh explained, the B.C. environment minister assesses each project separately, on whether “sufficient physical work and capital spend on long-term project infrastructure has been completed prior to the EAC’s deadline.”

Seabridge began early construction activities in 2021 by building roads, camps, fish compensation sites, power line clearing, and advancing technical and environmental monitoring programs. Since then, they have spent $444 million on KSM construction.

“Seabridge started undertaking early-stage activities to responsibly advance the project while they continue to look for a responsible joint venture with a global mining company able to finance, build and operate the project responsibly,” Shaikh said.

Seabridge chairman and CEO, Rudi Fronk, said he is looking forward to working with the EAO and First Nations on the review of their application and is excited for the future of the KSM project.

“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,” Fronk said.

Fronk added that the rapid transformation could not have been accomplished without the local workforce, contractors and Indigenous partners who, he said, have met and exceeded expectations.

Seabridge has spent more than $997 million since they acquired the KSM project in 2001, a project that has become the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world as well as the largest gold resource, the company estimates.