Another mining interest threatens industrialization of wild Alaska and its splendid wildlife miracle.
The Canadian mining corporation Constantine Metal Resources has begun drilling in a private inholding in Lake Clark National Park. The inholding, known as the Johnson Tract, is owned by the Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), a regional native corporation. CIRI acquired the land, which is just south of Tuxedni Bay on Cook Inlet, and its subsurface rights through a land trade shortly after the passing of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971. With the revision of the Lake Clark National Park boundaries following the Alaska National Interest Lands Claim Act (ANILCA) in 1980, the Johnson Tract became a private inholding within the park.
In 2018, CIRI and Constantine Metals Resources, a mining company which had previously sparked strong community opposition in southeast Alaska when it’s work exploring the Palmer prospect about Chilkat River in Haines raised water quality and fish concerns, entered a ten-year lease agreement on the Johnson Tract, with the option to renew.
This summer, High Gold, a spin-off corporation of Constantine Metals Resources, began an aggressive drilling operation in the tract within the national park, in an attempt to define the resource. The project has captured the alarm of local businesses such as fishing lodges and tour operators, fishermen and property owners alike.
This area is defined by a rich, intact, productive, biodiverse ecosystem, and if developed, the project would likely have major impacts to the area’s rich abundant wildlife including black and brown bears, wolverines, wolves, marmots, and giant flocks of shorebirds and seabirds. Mining in the area would also impact the free flowing streams filled with silver, sockeye, pink, chum and king salmon.
For more information, check out the article from the Cook Inletkeeper here.