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NEWS: Bamoos Lake-area mine to undergo environmental review

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal reports that, “The potential for ‘significant adverse effects’ on Marathon-area lakes has made it necessary for a proposal for a new palladium and copper mine to be reviewed by a panel of independent experts, the federal government says.”

“Stillwater Mining Company’s project was referred to a federal review panel on Oct. 7 after concerns were raised by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as Transport Canada, a public information session in Marathon about the project was told Wednesday.

The referral was made even after a former proponent of the mine abandoned a proposal to dump mine waste into nearby Bamoos Lake, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency panel manager Colette Spagnuolo told a group of locals, town officials and environmentalists at the Moose Hall. ‘It was because of (potential) significant adverse effects to other lakes as well,’ said Spagnuolo.”

“If the project passes the environmental review process and is able to acquire necessary operating permits, Stillwater is to build an open-pit operation near the town airport. The projected operating life is about 12 years.

The review panel — to consist of three yet-to-be appointed experts who have no connection to the project — is to produce a report to be considered by the government before it decides whether it will approve the mine.”

“The panel is part of an anticipated 16-month review under the Canadian Environment Assessment Act and may also include a representative from the province. Though exact dates haven’t been set, a public hearing is to take place in Marathon so that various interest groups can offer the panel members direct feedback.”

“A key question the review panel members are to consider, said Spagnuolo, is: ‘Are the changes to the environment (by the mine) too negative?’ The panel can also consider socio-economic feedback, such as job creation and its potential for Marathon’s economy.

Live testimony at the public hearing is crucial so panel review members ‘can weigh what they’re hearing,’ Spagnuolo added.”

The full article is at http://www.chroniclejournal.com/content/news/local/2010/12/09/lake-concerns-trigger-mine-review.