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NWT chapter opposes silica mining near Chedabucto Lake

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter has written a letter to the Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board to ask it not to grant a five-year land use permit to Husky Oil to carry out exploratory drilling for silica in the Chedabucto Lake area on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

The silica would be mined about 50 kilometres west of Yellowknife for the purpose of fracking in the NWT and possibly in other areas of western Canada. Silica is a hard mineral substance used to prop open underground fractures during the fracking process to enable the gas or oil to be released.

The letter from NWT chapter activist Peter Redvers highlights a number of concerns about this permit application.

He notes, “The North Arm remains a pristine landscape with clean water; abundant fish populations; a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds, moose, and boreal caribou, which is a threatened species under NWT Species at Risk legislation. …This exploratory program is the beginning phase of a development process that could fundamentally damage, in perpetuity, large sections of the land.”

Redvers adds, “Although CoC NWT does not formally represent Indigenous interests, it knows that the North Arm is a traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering area for Aboriginal peoples throughout the North Slave region. An industrial mining operation will interfere with traditional travel and harvesting activities and damage wildlife habitat.”

And he highlights, “Damaging a pristine environment to access a known health hazard to support a controversial and unproven oil extraction process that will significantly contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater loss makes no sense.”

The chapter asks the Board to refer Husky Oil’s application to an environmental assessment.

Husky wants to begin its exploratory drilling near Chedabucto Lake this March or April.

Further reading
WIN! Husky withdraws its fracking application in the NWT (May 2014 blog)
NWT chapter calls for environmental assessment of Husky fracking proposal (April 2014 blog)