While the BC government and our local MLA seem to be assuring us that they do not think mining in the Flathead River Valley is acceptable, MAX Resource Corp has recently begun exploration, drilling for gold in the headwaters of the Flathead River.

Wildsight has been keeping an eye on mining exploration in the Flathead River Valley, near Fernie B.C. In recent months, several projects have come onto the radar, including one by MAX Resource Corp. of Vancouver. Currently, MAX Resource is exploring for gold high in the B.C. Rocky Mountains above Howell Creek. Howell Creek is part of the headwaters of the Flathead River.

According to the MAX Resource website: “MAX plans to drill a minimum of 1,000 meters at Howell, with drilling having commenced on July 21, 2008. . . The Howell Gold Project is comprised of 4,376 hectares in Southeast B.C. , straddling the drainages of Twenty-Nine Mile Creek and Howell Creek. . .”

Is this business as usual in the Flathead River Valley?

Not necessarily, in 2004 the BC government placed a no coal staking reserve on a portion of the Flathead along the Canada – U.S. Border seemingly to protect this special place from industrial developments.  But the question has always remained:  Is mining for gold, or any other mineral any less problematic for this unique, uninhabited, low-elevation river valley – the last of its kind in southern Canada?

“There has been absolutely no sign of exploration stopping in the Flathead,” said Casey Brennan, a program manager with Wildsight.  “We were pleased when the B.C. government placed a no coal staking reserve on that part of the Flathead River Valley, but have always questioned why the government doesn’t implement a plan that offers real protection for this special place.”

Brennan continued: “We all understand that there are legal implications to eliminate mining from the Flathead altogether, but Minister Bill Bennett said it best when he stated ‘it is not an impossible task.’”

Brennan said that mining exploration continues unabated in the Flathead River Valley and that a permanent solution must happen—“as soon as we can make it happen. Our government leaders are taking baby steps on their way to realizing that an industrial landscape in the Flathead River Valley is unacceptable. We encourage our leaders to start taking bigger strides towards implementing a solution that offers permanent protection to 1/3rd of the Flathead River Valley and manages the rest in a way that puts wildlife protection ahead of mining and oil and gas interests.”

For more information, contact:
Casey Brennan
Wildsight Southern Rockies and Flathead Program Manager
casey@wildsight.ca

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