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B.C. approves Chieftain's environmental assessment

Posted: October 25, 2012 - 7:54pm  |  Updated: October 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Chieftain Metals, Inc. has cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to develop the Tulsequah Chief Mine.

The British Columbia Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas approved Toronto-based Chieftain’s application for an amendment to its existing Environmental Assessment, Chieftain announced on Oct. 22. The amendment allows for an alternate route for a road leading to the mine site from Atlin, B.C.

Chieftain has said that the mine would have to conduct most of its commercial traffic by road and not, as previously expected, by barge on the Taku River.

The proposed road route would cut through Taku River Tlingit First Nation land. TRTFN recently announced its withdrawal from the Environmental Assessment process until Chieftain produced a working feasibility study and restarted a water treatment facility on the Tulsequah River.

Chieftain had said the Taku Tlingit's actions would not affect the company's efforts to proceed with the mine's development.

The company had applied for an amendment to its original road route to reduce the overall length of the road by nearly 22 miles, avoid several stream crossings and caribou habitat and bypass a heritage trail.

The mine is located 40 miles northeast of Juneau on the British Columbia side of the Taku River system. It was previously owned by Redfern Resources Ltd.

Chieftain took over the site and started operation in November 2011 of a water treatment facility designed to handle the historic acid mine drainage from the Tulsequah mine. After operating the facility for several months Chieftain ceased its operation stating concerns with efficiencies and financing. The mining company is now in violation of its water discharge permit.

Chieftain CEO Victor Wyprysky said in a recent Juneau Empire article that his company is again testing the facility to improve efficiency.

Chieftain also recently announced a sale of 1.5 million of its shares to Procon Holdings of Alberta reaching its previously announced non-brokered private placement of $9.9 million. Procon is a majority owned subsidiary of China-based CAMC Engineering Company Ltd.

Chieftain Metals (CFB.TO) closed on the Toronto Stock Exchange at 2.54, Thursday, up from a year low of 2.30 on Sept. 13.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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