VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has granted an environmental assessment certificate for an open-pit gypsum mine in the West Kootenay.
The government says it considered a report from the Environmental Assessment Office and it's confident the 135-hectare project by CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc. will be built, operated and closed in a way that ensures no adverse effects are likely to occur.
Environment Minister George Heyman and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall say the protection of water quality in the nearby Kootenay River is important and they have received assurances that the sedimentation ponds for the project are constructed to stringent standards.
The mine's annual production is estimated at 400,000 tonnes of gypsum, which is used to make drywall, cement and plaster of paris.
The government says the company worked with two local First Nations to develop the certificate and ensure the concerns for their territories were met.
Construction of the new mine in southeastern B.C. is expected to cost $23.7 million, with annual operating costs of $4.3 million.