Juneau officials haven't given up hope that Canadian government officials will attend a public forum in Juneau on the proposed Tulsequah Chief mine next Tuesday.
"We're still talking to them," said the city's Special Projects Officer Maria Gladziszewski.
A top Canadian regulator previously declined to attend the city's forum on the mine in October, saying she preferred written feedback on the project.
Mine developer Redfern Resources Ltd. is interested in attending the forum but has urged the city to discard a panel session. The company suggested a "less confrontational" open house instead.
The city hasn't decided on a format for the meeting yet, Gladziszewski said.
The Tulsequah Chief project has raised controversy in Juneau due to fear about its effect on the Taku River's water quality and the river's Juneau-based salmon gillnet fishery.
The proposed mine, about 40 miles northwest of Juneau, is nearing a major milestone. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is taking public comments until Feb. 18 on its final environmental assessment for the mine's controversial 100-mile access road.
"We need (Canada) and Redfern to answer questions now," said Chris Zimmer, an activist with the Transboundary Watershed Alliance, which opposes the mine.
Zimmer said federal Canadian authorities haven't properly assessed the evidence about the environmental consequences of the 100-mile road.
Terry Chandler, president of Redfern Resources Ltd., told the city in a Jan. 21 letter that the company is worried about a possible panel format for the forum. He wrote that it likely would foment "an atmosphere of conflict and minimize public confidence."
"We've been talking about the format with Redfern and others," Gladziszewski said.
She said the general purpose of the meeting is to inform residents about the project and the process for its approval in Canada.
The forum is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 8 at Centennial Hall.