Canadian mining company Seabridge Gold through, its wholly owned subsidiary KSM Mining, has applied for Substantially Started Status for its 100% owned KSM Project in Canada.

KSM Mining has submitted its application to the British Columbia Environment Assessment Office (BC EAO).

Under the BC Environmental Assessment Act, a project’s environmental assessment certificate (EAC) expires if the project has not been substantially started by the pre-specified deadline.

However, the EAC may remain in effect, if the BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy or Associate Deputy Minster determines that a project has been ‘substantially started’ before the deadline.

The Minister would check, on a project-specific basis, whether sufficient permanent on-site physical improvements have been completed to warrant the designation.

The current EAC deadline for the KSM project is 29 July 2026.

Seabridge chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk said: “We look forward to working with the BC EAO and First Nations on the review of our application. The permanent physical improvements we have made to the KSM site are truly impressive.

“Since launching our Early construction program three years ago, a proposed mine development that only existed on paper is now taking physical shape on the ground with roads and bridges, permanent living facilities for our personnel, hydroelectric power infrastructure and new fish habitat compensation projects.

“This rapid transformation could not have been accomplished without our local workforce, contractors and indigenous partners which has met and exceeded our expectations.”

The Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell (KSM) is one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold projects in terms of reserves and resources.

According to an updated Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS), the KSM project has proven and probable reserves totalling 47.3 million ounces of gold and 7.3 billion pounds of copper.

KSM Mining has spent more than $997m since acquiring the KSM Project in 2001, including $805m after the issuance of the EAC in July 2014.

In 2021, Seabridge decided to start early construction activities at the KSM Project and spent $444m on the development of permanent infrastructure on site.

In March 2022, Seabridge Gold announced $225m capital raising from Sprott Resource Streaming and Royalty and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to advance the KSM project.

Fronk added: “Additionally, this work would not have been possible without the financial support of Sprott Resource Streaming and Royalty Corp. and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan who collectively provided US$375 million in funding for these activities.

“Finally, I want to personally thank the Nisga’a Nation, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs office, BC Hydro and the municipal leaders of Terrace, Smithers, Stewart, Hazelton, and the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine for their letters of support that have been filed with our application.”