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My turn: Redfern not trying to shut out the public at Monday meeting

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2008

Many recent letters about Redfern Resources' Tulsequah Chief Mine Project have expressed concerns, some unfounded but understandable, about our proposed transportation plan. I'd like to clarify the facts and invite everyone to a public meeting Monday at Centennial Hall from 7 to 9:30 p.m. to learn firsthand what we are proposing, what benefits our operations will bring to Juneau, and to have the opportunity to ask questions.

First, Redfern Resources knows the Taku River is a very important resource to fisherman and others. We care deeply about protecting the environment and are working to develop an environmentally sound mine. When Redfern decided to reopen the Tulsequah Chief Mine, our only option at that time was to construct a 100-mile road from Atlin, British Columbia, to the mine site.

We continued to investigate other alternatives, however, while continuing to obtain our permits to construct this road. By 2006, we had secured the permit to construct the road, but had learned of air cushion barges. Upon further investigation, we found that air cushion barges are a viable alternative to road construction and had the least amount of environmental impact.

Second, the public meeting on Monday is not a legal or regulatory requirement for the two permits we seek. It is a public service to our neighbors in Juneau. The Department of Natural Resources asked us to host a public meeting together with them so people could better understand the specific permit process involved and provide appropriate written comments. We readily agreed to do so at our expense.

Because of the need to gather additional information about our proposal for regulators, the written comment period has been extended twice and the state has re-scheduled the date of the public meeting date accordingly. We have been diligently working to provide this information and address all concerns as best we can.

We have been open and honest with Juneau residents and will not waiver from this positive policy. We secured all the rooms at Centennial Hall in order to provide people with as much information as possible. Renting the entire hall for our meeting is nothing new and has been done for similar events in the past.

The public meeting is designed to be our show and tell and is open to all. We welcome the public's participation. Unfortunately, those opposed to this project have gone out of their way to create doubt during this process and to drum up controversy. They can hold any event of their choosing, and we fully respect their right to state their opinions. We are under no obligation, however, to allow those organizations to demand space in the venue that would unfairly disrupt our forum.

Redfern, natural resources, and the Canadian regulators who will be presenting information are conducting the public meeting as a public service - nothing more or less. We appreciate the opportunity to educate everyone about the Tulsequah Chief Mine Project and as such, we will have child care available for parents who want to attend the meeting but would need to bring their kids, a room to show video footage of the air cushion barge in operation and information available about the mining industry in general.

Contrary to what a vocal minority is falsely claiming, Redfern is not trying to shut the public out of the process. Instead, we are enhancing it at our own expense and regardless of whether it is a regulatory requirement or not. To accuse us of inhibiting public involvement is unfair, unfounded and contrary to the facts.

We are only asking for fair consideration from the natural resources department and to be judged by the public according to the facts. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Juneau and the many businesses and future employees that become involved with supplying or servicing our project.

Please attend the public meeting to see for yourself what is and isn't true about us and our project.

• Salina Landstad is manager of public relations and corporate communications for Redcorp Ventures/Redfern Resources.



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