Canada: Ontario Must Assess the Impacts of Mines and Smelters Before They Are Built!

NEWS RELEASE, 5 November 2020, 7.51am EST

Source: MiningWatch Canada – Northwatch – Friends of the Attawapiskat River – Canadian Environmental Law Association – Greenpeace Canada – Kebaowek First Nation

(Ottawa) A report released today by MiningWatch Canada concludes that every new mine, smelter or refinery in Ontario – or major expansion – must have a thorough environmental assessment before it can go ahead.

The report, written by Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy (OJAMS), commissioned by MiningWatch Canada and endorsed by Northwatch, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Greenpeace Canada, and Kebaowek First Nation, is being submitted to the Ontario government in response to  changes it made to the Environmental Assessment Act as part of the omnibus COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, Bill 197.

Environmental Assessment (EA) is the procedure of studying the projected impacts of proposed projects to people, lands, waters, and the health of future generations. Ontario is holding consultations to decide which developments will be subject to these environmental studies. The consultations on this project list close on November 10. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not legally require an EA of new or expanding mine developments.

Out of 31 mines and mills currently operating in Ontario, only four have gone through an EA, and only one of those was by the province; the other three were reviewed by the federal government. With one exception, mines and smelters in Sudbury, Timmins, and Kirkland Lake have never completed an EA. Meanwhile, Ontario’s unfunded liability for cleaning up all its mines may be as high as $7.6 billion.

For decades, Ontario has been relying on piecemeal reviews of mines by the federal government, only applying provincial reviews to mining infrastructure like roads and transmission lines. However, the new federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA) does not include smelters or refineries on its Project List, and only covers the very largest metal and diamond mine proposals.

As communities’ and Indigenous Peoples’ concerns about environmental and social impacts are causing delays for extractive projects, investors – and the general public – are demanding better evaluation of the impacts of mining developments before they are built or undertake major expansions. Both Québec and B.C. have created project lists that automatically include most mines and smelters.

This report recommends that all mines, mills and extractive metallurgy facilities in Ontario – and significant expansions of the same – undergo a comprehensive environmental assessment. At the very least, Ontario should meet the standards set by Québec and British Columbia. Their project lists, recently updated, require EAs for mineral developments that create the greatest risk to our environment. Both are mining jurisdictions like Ontario, dependent on global investment to develop and expand their mining sectors – and with a large number of unfunded liabilities for abandoned mines.

The report is attached here.

For more information, please contact:

  • Joan Kuyek, Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy (OJAMS), ojams.ca, (613) 795-5710

Endorsed by:

  • MiningWatch Canada
  • Northwatch
  • Friends of the Attawapiskat River
  • Canadian Environmental Law Association
  • Greenpeace Canada
  • Kebaowek First Nation

Submission on proposed Project List for comprehensive environmental assessments under Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act2.15 MBPDFProtect WaterMining can have serious effects on surface and subsurface water(340)Control the CorporationsCanadian mining companies operate around the world without regulations(1077)Fix Mining LawsMany Canadian mining laws are out of step with current values and expectations(417)Put People and Ecosystems FirstSound environmental planning may or may not allow mining.(387)

SOURCE: https://miningwatch.ca/news/2020/11/5/ontario-must-assess-impacts-mines-and-smelters-they-are-built

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s