On the same day the Harper government denied federal authorization for the Prosperity mine and the destruction of Fish Lake, it approved the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia. Environment minister Jim Prentice said, “The Mount Milligan project has been designed in a way that minimizes impacts to the environment…”
Environment Canada’s media release says, “The Mount Milligan project underwent environmental assessments under provincial legislation and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The CEAA process involved the conduct of a comprehensive study. Both environmental assessments determined that, with the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”
But Northword tells a very different story.
They report that, “The Mount Milligan mine will be located between Fort St. James and Mackenzie on Nak’azdli traditional territory. It will process 60,000 tonnes per day of ore; the total disturbance area is predicted to be more than 18 square kilometres. Included in the project are an onsite explosives factory, a 92-km transmission line and an upgraded access road with 30 stream crossings.”
“In June 2006, Terrane Metals informed the Nak’azdli people they had an exploration permit from the BC government; the Nak’azdli had not been consulted.”
“After receiving BC environmental approval in 2009, the mine underwent a Comprehensive Study Report by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and National Resources Canada (NRCan). DFO determined that the proponent’s mitigation plans were adequate to offset the conversion of fish-bearing Alpine Creek and King Richard Creek into tailing impoundment areas (TIAs) for the mine.”
“The Nak’azdli only heard of the approvals from media reports; they were not informed of the decision by either the federal or BC governments.”
“In addition to the conversion of the two creeks into TIAs, Terrane Metals has stated they may also draw water from nearby Rainbow Creek, a third fish-bearing waterway. These creeks flow into the Nation River that flows north toward Williston Lake and the Peace River beyond.”
“(Anne Marie Sam, a Nak’azdli band councilor) and other community members are concerned not only about the destruction of fish and wildlife habitat near the mine but also the leaching of poisonous chemicals into the Arctic watershed.”
The Northword article is at http://northword.ca/april-2010/mount-milligan-mine.