Take action by contacting B.C. leaders opposing mining in Skagit Headwaters

Take action by contacting B.C. leaders opposing mining in Skagit Headwaters

Conservation Northwest / Apr 01, 2021 / Action Alert, British Columbia, Healthy Watersheds

Use our action form to contact British Columbia Premier John Horgan and other provincial ministers stating your opposition to mining in the Skagit Headwaters.

Two years ago Canadian corporation Imperial Metals applied to conduct exploratory mining in the unprotected “Donut Hole” at the headwaters of the Skagit River just north of the U.S.-Canada border in southern British Columbia.

Join us in taking action by calling on B.C.’s provincial leaders to reject this risky mining proposal in the Skagit Headwaters!

Copper Mountain Mine, southern British Columbia in the Similkameen River watershed. Photo: Benjamin Drummond and LightHawk.

So far Imperial Metals has not been granted a permit by the British Columbia provincial government, and we say they never should. Opposition to the mining company’s plans has been strong and increasing.

The Donut Hole is in the heart of one of B.C.’s most cherished outdoor recreation areas and is within a two and a half hour drive of Metro Vancouver communities. These mountains and valleys also host important habitat for some of our region’s most at risk wildlife species; including the threatened North Cascades grizzly bears, spotted owls and bull trout.

The “Mighty Skagit” is one of very few rivers home to all five species of Pacific salmon, including Puget Sound’s healthiest remaining run of Chinook—critical food for endangered southern resident orca whales.

The Skagit Headwaters are subject to an international treaty that envisions the Donut Hole mining tenure will be extinguished, old mine sites cleaned up and the area’s outstanding natural and cultural values conserved within a protected area.

This is no place to mine. An international coalition of more than 200 conservation, recreation and wildlife groups as well as local elected officials, businesses, and Tribes and First Nations have been fighting to stop mining from going forward.

Please take action using our simple form! Suggested comments are also available below, and can be sent to premier@gov.bc.ca.

Suggested message to Premier John Horgan and B.C. ministers

Dear British Columbia Premier John Horgan,

Imperial Metals’ mineral exploration application in the Skagit Headwaters is opposed by hundreds of conservation, recreation and Indigenous groups from both sides of the border.

As a Washingtonian, I am deeply concerned about the impacts from mining in this transboundary watershed on habitat, wildlife, First Nations and downstream Native American tribes, communities, fish and wildlife in the United States, including southern resident orca whales.

British Columbia needs to ensure their commitment to the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) is upheld. First Nations who have social, cultural and ongoing ties to this area must be consulted and able to make an informed decision on the future of this area.

Imperial Metals was responsible for one of the largest mining disasters in Canadian history in 2014, when a tailings dam failed spilling toxic sludge into salmon streams and tributaries of the Fraser River. Damage and garbage left over from previous mine exploration in the Donut Hole has not been cleaned up. Imperial Metals needs to clean up these sites now.

This new mining permit application is in an area sandwiched between Manning and Skagit Provincial Parks. Both parks and other nearby recreational destinations are very popular and are just a day trip from Metro Vancouver and draw more than a million visitors each year.

The 2019 remediation commitments made by the government of BC have not been done, such as decommissioning of logging roads, re-contouring to the slope and re-vegetating the road beds in the Donut Hole. An assessment and remediation plan has not been provided by the Ministry of Environment of the clearcut logging that was permitted by BC Timber Sales in 2018 that eliminated important grizzly bear and mountain goat habitat.

I do not want to see more industrial damage in the Donut Hole. It’s time to move forward the vision of a fully protected Skagit Headwaters as laid out in the Skagit International Treaty. British Columbia must work with First Nations, conservation interests and other stakeholders to grant the Donut Hole protected area status.

Please ensure Imperial Metal’s flawed mining exploration permit for the Skagit Headwaters is rejected and the Skagit/Manning Donut Hole is protected for the long-term.

Washingtonians are also gravely concerned about expansion plans, tailings dam increases, and other mining proposals in transboundary watersheds, such as at Copper Mountain Mine above the Similkameen River in the Columbia River watershed. Please update British Columbia’s mining regulations to stronger standards, including proper financial assurances to cover the cost of disasters.



Tailings dam and pond, Copper Mountain Mine, British Columbia. Photo: Benjamin Drummond and LightHawk