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UPDATE: Federal Court hearing on Schedule 2 expected in November-December

The Sandy Pond Alliance

The Sandy Pond Alliance

The legal challenge launched by the Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters – of which the Council of Canadians is a member and contributor – is progressing, with a Federal Court of Canada hearing expected in November-December of this year.

SPA lawyer Owen Myers told us today that a date is likely to be set next week for interveners Vale, the Mining Association of Canada, and the Mining Association of British Columbia to question the information provided in an affidavit by our side.

Then there are various other pre-trial processes, with a date for a hearing in the Federal Court to be set by late-September or early-October.

It is expected that the 2-3 day hearing would take place in November or December.

As reported in the St. John’s Telegram, the challenge is “seeking the removal of metal mining effluent regulations from the Federal Fisheries Act. The regulations allow the government to approve the use of lakes and ponds across the country as tailings dump sites. But according to court documents Vale has filed, if the federal court ultimately agrees with the alliance, it will have to decide whether that retroactively stops Vale’s plans for Sandy Pond.”

It’s not clear at this point if the Federal Court justice would issue their ruling in November-December or at some point in early 2012. The $2.2 billion Vale plant at Long Harbour, Newfoundland – to be completed in 2013 – will process nickel from the company’s operations in Voisey’s Bay and dump approximately 400,000 tonnes of tailings annually into Sandy Pond, a 30-hectare freshwater lake.

The Sandy Pond Alliance legal challenge was announced at media conferences on March 22, 2010 and the legal challenge was officially launched on June 4, 2010.