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The Council supports Wolastoq camp, opposes Schedule 2 exemption for Sisson mine

On November 14, 2017, the Fredericton chapter helped build a winter home for the Wolastoq Grandmothers Sisson Encampment against a proposed open-pit mine that threatens the headwaters of the Nashwaak River and other water bodies on Maliseet territory about 100 kilometres north of Fredericton.

The Council of Canadians is against the proposed Northcliff Resources Sisson mine that was approved by the Trudeau government in June 2017.

Sisson is a proposed open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine that would be built at the headwaters of the Nashwaak River on Maliseet territory about 100 kilometres north of Fredericton. The mine would also include an unlined tailings pond and an ore processing plant. Molybdenum is used for warplanes and industrial motors.

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter has worked in solidarity with the Wolastoq Mothers and Grandmothers who are exercising their inherent rights by establishing a land defence camp on the site. In July 2017, the chapter delivered supplies to the camp, in November they helped build a permanent structure there, and this past December they facilitated the purchase of a generator (that was delivered by Council of Canadians organizers Angela Giles and Robin Tress).

The Council of Canadians has also long opposed the Schedule 2 provision in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations that allows fresh water bodies to be redefined as ‘tailings impoundment areas’ and for toxic mine waste to be dumped into them. We have participated in campaigns to stop Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in British Columbia and Sandy Pond in Newfoundland and Labrador from being turned into tailings impoundment areas.

Now, CBC reports, “The company behind the proposed Sisson mine project is seeking a permit from the federal government to be able to dump waste water into fish-bearing brooks and compensate for the loss of fish habitat. The project still requires an amendment to the metal mining effluent regulations under the federal Fisheries Act before it can proceed. The proposal involves the development and use of a tailings storage facility ‘that is expected to cover some brooks that are productive fish habitat’ and associated storage of tailings and waste rock.”

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick says this project would have a significant impact on Bird Brook, West Branch Napadogan Brook, Sisson Brook and McBean Brook.

Environment Canada will hold a public meeting on this issue on March 15 starting at 6 pm at the Upper Nashwaak Lions Club at 1284 Route 107 near Cross Creek.

Construction on the mine is expected to start this spring.

The Council of Canadians calls on the Trudeau government to reject the requested Schedule 2 exemption for the mine and to rescind the Schedule 2 provision.