Why Imperial Metals surrendered its mining rights in B.C.’s Skagit headwaters

The Narwhal

After the mining company accepted $24 million from a coalition of groups in exchange for releasing mineral claims to the province of B.C., conservationists and First Nations are celebrating the end of potential exploration in an area known as the Doughnut Hole, an anomaly of unprotected land about half the size of the city of Vancouver that is completely encircled by Manning and Skagit provincial parks


Three years of negotiations, against a backdrop of international outrage from Indigenous communities, environmental groups and local governments, have ended plans by Imperial Metals to conduct exploratory drilling for copper and gold in the Skagit Doughnut Hole, a sensitive and unprotected area near the Canada-U.S. border, that contains the headwaters of the Skagit River and is encircled by Skagit Valley and E.C. Manning provincial parks.

The B.C. government has signed a memorandum of agreement with Imperial Metals and the  Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission — a binational group charged with protecting the Upper Skagit watershed — allowing the company to hand over its mining rights in the 5,800-hectare area, also known as the Silverdaisy watershed, to the provincial government.

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