What is a social license?
A social license is a general sense of agreement with a project or venture by those outside the sponsor who are most affected by it. A social license extends beyond formal permitting and regulatory processes by identifying and responding to the fundamental cultural, social and economic needs and concerns of local communities. The result is not only acceptance but also a sense of participation and benefit from the venture.
At Seabridge, we believe a social license is earned by:
· Voluntary consultation. Local citizens must be heard. Their needs and concerns should visibly shape the venture. Senior management must be directly involved.
· Transparency. All the relevant data and the reasons for every decision must be available for scrutiny and dialogue. Communication must be ongoing.
· Persistence. The process of earning a social license is never finished and certainly does not end with regulatory approval or compliance.
· Partnership. It is vital to see local communities and businesses as partners. Every aspect of our venture must be examined in the light of how it can be used to further the aims and aspirations of our neighbours.
· Sustainability. The venture must be seen to be in harmony with the social goals of the broader community such as protection of the environment, the judicious use of resources, minimizing carbon emissions and enhancement of individual health and well-being.
At KSM we are proud to have achieved a social license to operate - a license which we are constantly striving to maintain and improve upon. Our social license at KSM rests upon the four main pillars that comprise a successful and robust license to operate. These pillars are:
Treaty and First Nation Support
· In June 2014, Seabridge and the Nisga’a Nation entered into a comprehensive environmental and socioeconomic impacts agreement for the Project. The Agreement is estimated to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in payments, employment and contracting opportunities to the Nisga’a Nation and its members over the life of the Project. Most importantly, it established a framework for Seabridge and Nisga’a to work together on ongoing development matters;
· In June 2014, Seabridge and the Gitanyow signed the Gitanyow Huwilp Sustainability Agreement within which Seabridge agreed to provide funding for wildlife, fish and water quality monitoring to address concerns raised by the Gitanyow Huwilp, as well as a joint committee to maintain co-operation and communications concerning the KSM Project;
· In early 2014 Seabridge received a letter of support for the KSM Project from the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs Office; and,
· In June 2019, Seabridge and the Tahltan Nation entered into a Cooperation and Benefits Agreement which is estimated to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in payments, employment and contracting opportunities to the Tahltan Nation and its members over the life of the Project. Notably, the agreement received one of the highest approval ratings from the Tahltan people, being approved by 77.8% of members. The Agreement provides for Tahltan support of the Project and sets out Seabridge’s environmental, contracting, education, and financial commitments.
Local Community Support
· Seabridge has received letters of support for the KSM Project from the Mayors and Councils of Smithers and Terrace;
· Seabridge has donated over $800,000 to community events in Northwest British Columbia over the past 10 years. Examples of sponsored community programs include food banks, sporting events, literacy camps, trade shows and career fairs, search and rescue organizations, economic development forums. Also sponsored were various events such as music festivals, art festivals, science fairs, golf tournaments, cultural festivals and local Chamber of Commerce events in Terrace and Smithers.
· Seabridge has invested in important community initiatives such as the northwest BC Scholarship Program. That program provides $100,000 annually to students in northwest BC, and supports the development of a strong, educated workforce in the region. To date, Seabridge Gold has donated $800,000 to students in Northwest British Columbia. Students from Smithers, Terrace, Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw, Gitlax’aamiks, Hazelton, Kitwanga, Stewart, Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and Iskut among others received funding to further their trades training and post-secondary education.
· Through ongoing consultation, engagement and accommodation with stakeholders and Indigenous communities, gaining a social license has helped to ensure the regulatory success of the project. After several hundred meetings with stakeholders, rights holders and conversations with over 10,000 community members, our efforts have helped us successfully complete the following regulatory achievements:
· Seabridge received provincial environmental assessment approval of the Project in July 2014;
· In December 2014, Seabridge also received federal environmental assessment approval of the Project; and,
· In March 2019, a five year extension to EA Certificate M14-01 was granted, with no new conditions attached to the Certificate;
· The Application/EIS was accompanied by applications for eligible provincial authorizations in accordance with the BCEAA (2002) Concurrent Approvals Regulation (BC Reg.371/2002). These initial permits are referred to as the “Batch 1 Permits” and included permits for the following mine components:
KSM Project Mines Act and Environmental Management Act Permit; Application for Limited Site Construction (May 2013);
Special Use permits for the CCAR and TCAR;
KSM Construction Camps;
KSM Project Treaty Transmission Line; and,
Land Act tenure for the Mitchell Treaty Tunnels (MTT) Roadway.
· Mines Act permit MX-1-965 authorizing construction of the Deep Kerr Exploration Adit (DKEA) was issued September 20, 2016, and EMA permit PE-108155 was issued on August 24,2016 authorizing the discharge of mine effluent from the DKEA project to Sulphurets Creek. The Deep Kerr Exploration Adit will be located near the existing temporary KSM exploration camp;
· Mines Act permit M-245, approving construction and operations of the Iron Cap Exploration Adit(ICEA) was issued on June 18, 2020. This permit approves the construction of the 3.6 km adit, portal pad, waste rock pile, water treatment plant and infrastructure;
· In July 2017 a Schedule2 of the MDMER was granted by the Federal Government, an authorization which governs the construction of the proposed tailings management facility inNorth Treaty Creek and South Teigen Creek (both fish-bearing streams; and,
· Seabridge received a license under the International River Improvements Act to Environment Canada on October 2016. The license is for improvements on the Unuk River, specifically within the Sulphurets Creek Watershed (which is a tributary to the Unuk River) and specifically includes the Water Storage Facility and ancillary water works for the KSM Project, representing dams, reservoirs and associated water diversion, collection and management structures for the purpose of: diverting fresh (non-contact) water around the mine site to downstream receiving waters; and collecting water that has been in contact with disturbed areas from the mine site for collection prior to discharge into the receiving waters.