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Ontario plans to update Mining Act

The Globe and Mail reports that, “Ontario’s Mining Act will be updated today for the first time in years. There have been many complaints about what critics say are outdated provisions that allow prospectors to stake and explore on private lands, especially from cottagers.”

“The Canadian Press has learned the changes will modernize the way companies stake their claims to be more respectful of private land owners and aboriginal communities. Government sources say the legislation would force mining companies to consult with First Nations’ communities, and includes a dispute-resolution process for aboriginal-related mining issues. Miners would also be required to take training so they know their obligations under the act to land owners, First Nations and the environment before they can get a prospector’s licence. The sources say the changes will provide clear rules for the mining industry and reduce the impact of mineral exploration on the environment.”

To read Council of Canadians energy campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue’s response to ‘Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act: Finding A Balance’ from January 13, 2009, please go to http://canadians.org/energy/documents/CoCsubmission-OntarioMiningAct.pdf.

As noted on our website, the Council joined numerous First Nations, environmental and social justice organizations in describing the Ontario Mining Act as not suitable for ensuring the fair and sustainable extraction of natural resources in this province. We demand a more open and democratic Mining Act that balances environmental concerns and the needs of communities with the desires of mining companies. Uranium mining is an issue of special interest to our organization given significant public health and water contamination risks and other social and environmental consequences associated with all stages of development. Council of Canadians chapters across the country have actively opposed uranium mining by organizing public events, collecting signatures and supporting legislative moratoriums and bans.

When the changes that the Ontario government are proposing for the Mining Act become available, we will be evaluating those measures in relation to the demands made in our submission.

The Globe and Mail article can be read at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090430.wmining0430/BNStory/National/home.

The Council of Canadians position on nuclear power and uranium mining can be read at http://canadians.org/energy/documents/NuclearStatement-Oct08.pdf.