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AUDIO: CBC As It Happens on the Melancthon Mega Quarry

The CBC Radio program ‘As It Happens’ says, “They left Toronto on Friday, and (on Tuesday), a small group of marchers will arrive at a potato farm near the location of what may become the second-largest open-pit mine in North America: a 2,400-acre quarry that would pull limestone aggregate from what is currently classified as some of the most fertile soil in Canada. The project, financed by a U.S.-based hedge fund, has raised the ire of area farmers, who worry that the quarry will disrupt the water table and threaten the safety of drinking water, as well as ruining the region for agriculture. Brian Danniels is a former resident of Horning’s Mills, Ontario, near the site of the quarry. He organized the march, which today reached the town of Shelburne, about 15 kilometres south of the site. We reached him there.”

To listen to this interview, go to http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/episode/2011/04/25/monday-april-25-2011/.

The Highland Companies, backed by a Boston-based multi-billion dollar hedge fund, the Baupost Group, is proposing a massive 2,316-acre open pit limestone mega quarry in Melancthon Township, 100 kilometres north of Toronto. The edge of the quarry would border the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. It would destroy productive farmland, pollute the air with the thousands of 40-ton trucks needed for it every day, and threaten the area’s water. Below the proposed quarry lies the Amabel-Lockport-Guelph aquifer that forms the headwaters of five major river systems – the Pine, the Grand, the Nottawasaga, the Saugeen and the Beaver – that are important drinking water sources for more than a million people. The quarry would blast 60 metres (deeper than Niagara Falls) beneath the water table and use approximately 600 million litres of water per day. The company plans to pump that water – collected daily on the open pit mine floor, and likely now contaminated with blasting residue and diesel fuel – back into the wells around the quarry. The aggregate from the quarry would be used for construction in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, as well as in Barrie, although there are concerns that some of it could be exported on the Great Lakes from the Owen Sound harbour. The 45-day public comments period ends today (April 26). Under Ontario law, no environmental assessment is required for this project.

For blogs on the campaign to stop this quarry, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=melancthon. Our action alert calling for an extension to the public comment period is at http://canadians.org/action/2011/mega-quarry.html.