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NEWS: Vale potash mine would draw water from Lake Katepwa and Lake Diefenbaker

Lake Katepwa

Lake Katepwa

This past February, CBC reported that Brazilian mining giant Vale plans to build a potash mine near the town of Kronau, Saskatchewan that would need large volumes of water to separate the potash from other minerals. “As there is no water source near Kronau, Vale wants to build a 70-kilometre water pipeline from Kronau to Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley. The company wants to pump more than 40 million litres of water — the equivalent of 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools — out of the lake every day.”

CBC reported then that, “The provincial body that regulates Saskatchewan’s water supply is currently studying whether there is enough water to meet Vale’s request.”

But today, Global Regina reports that, “Vale says it’s preferred source is Katepwa Lake, an option a soon to be released report from the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority says could be sustainable. ‘With supplementation from Lake Diefenbaker, there will be only minor impacts on hydrology,’ said Dale Hjertaas, Executive Director of Policy and Communications with the Watershed Authority. ‘It looks like it would be acceptable to take water from Katepwa Lake.'”

The article adds, “The company will still need to conduct a number of community consultations to learn what concerns surrounding communities have…” Months ago, the CBC article highlighted, “People living in the Katepwa Lake area say they are concerned about the effects the mine — and the withdrawal of all that water — would have on not just their water supply, but on the province’s lakes.” But now, the spin in the news coverage highlights the mine will need 300 operators and that its construction could require up to 2,000 people.

Today’s article notes, “(Valle Project Manager Will) Longworth says if all the concerns can be addressed, the company intends to make a final decision on the project by late 2013.”