Star Diamond Project - Fort a la Corne, SK

Star Diamond Project - Fort a la Corne, SK

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:17 am

Star Diamond Project - Fort a la Corne, SK


Location and Access (Maps)

The Star Diamond project is located approximately 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, a major supply centre for Northern Saskatchewan. A paved highway, gravel road grid system, and an extensive network of forestry roads provide excellent year round access to Shore’s property. The Star Kimberlite is situated in a burned portion of the Fort a la Corne forest, 2 kilometres north of the Saskatchewan River and 21kilometres to the west of a 25 Kilovolt power line.

The project area consists of 45 contiguous mineral dispositions totaling 9,808 hectares and is 100% owned by Shore. The Company holds 395 claims covering 219,196 hectares.

Fort a la Corne

The Fort a la Corne area of Saskatchewan hosts one of the most extensive kimberlite fields in the world. Over 70 kimberlites exist in the Fort a la Corne province and over 70 percent of these have been shown to contain diamonds. The deposition and erosional history at Fort a la Corne is such that the crater portions of the volcanic eruptive events have been preserved and not scraped away by glaciation, as is the case with most kimberlites. As a result, the crater portion of the kimberlite has significant geographic extent. The Star kimberlite averages 88 meters in thickness and covers an area over four square kilometres. The kimberlite is covered by 90 meters of overburden, consisting mostly of sand, mudstone and glacial till. Shore was the first company in the Fort a la Corne district to locate a root zone beneath the kimberlite crater when drill hole Star 20 intersected 539 metres of continuous kimberlite. This is the longest intersection of continuous kimberlite from a vertical drill hole ever reported in North America.

Previous Exploration

After acquiring the key claims in late 1995, Shore completed an airborne geophysical survey in the Spring of 1996 and followed up several magnetic anomalies with a ground magnetic survey. In the fall of 1996 three NQ (48mm diameter) core holes were drilled in an anomaly now known as the Star Kimberlite. These holes were followed up and confirmed by the results from two PQ (85mm diameter) core holes drilled in 1997. Encouraged by these results, Shore has subsequently drilled an additional 29 NQ holes, one PQ hole and one large diameter (24") reverse circulation hole.

Bulk Sample Program

The several seasons of drilling indicated a reasonably homogeneous deposit of consistent diamond content that supported a bulk tonnage scenario. Interpretation of the results confirmed to Shore management that the true value of the deposit could only be determined from a large parcel (3000 carats) of diamonds recovered from a bulk sample. The ore value in a diamond mine is determined as a combination of carat values (US$/carat) and grade (carats/tonne). Once the diamond value is known, detailed drilling can be undertaken to evaluate an average diamond grade and thus develop a dollar value per tonne. A study of sampling methods quickly indicated that a large parcel of diamonds could be recovered most efficiently and cost effectively by way of an underground bulk sample.

Shore has recently completed a 70,000 tonne bulk sample as part of the advanced evaluation study. We have recovered 10,582.67 carats with an averaged modeled value of $170 per carat.

Advanced Evaluation

Shore Gold has completed it's $60 million advanced evaluation program that was scheduled for 2007. This was the largest work program outlined for any of the Fort a la Corne kimberlites to date. The aim of the advanced evaluation is to initially define a National Instrument 43-101 compliant mineral resource followed by a mineral reserve for the Star Kimberlite.

Advanced Evaluation Program Highlights

• Completed underground Bulk Sampling: 70,000 tonnes recovered
• Diamond recovery: 10,582.67 Carats
• Recovered: 49.50 & 22 Carat stones
• Decommissioned shaft

Core Drilling
• 271 holes: 63,967 metres

Large Diametre Drilling
• 80 LDD holes completed: 20,000 tonnes

Engineering studies

Also included in the advanced evaluation was an airborne laser survey for accurate topographic mapping of the site, kimberlite and country rock test work, three dimensional modeling, grade estimation, block model construction, mine and plant design and the preparation of an environmental impact assessment. The current time line is structured in such a way that Shore will be able to fast track the feasibility study immediately thereafter.

Star 3D Model
Total 276 million tonnes kimberlite
Potential economic lithologies:
• EJF: 163 million tonnes*
• Pense: 26 million tonnes*
• Cantuar: 23 million tonnes*

300-224 4th Ave. South
Saskatoon, SK
Canada S7K 5M5
Tel: 306-664-2202
Fax: 306-664-7181

©Shore Gold Inc. 2008

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Shore Gold 2008 AGM Investors Presentation

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


NEWS RELEASE September 25, 2006

Stock Symbol SGF: TSX Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Kenneth E. MacNeill, President and CEO of Shore Gold Inc. ("Shore") is pleased to announce that Shore has entered into agreements with Cameco Corporation ("Cameco") and UEM Inc. ("UEM") whereby Kensington Resources Ltd. ("Kensington"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shore, will acquire Cameco's 5.51% participating interest and UEM's 10% participating interest in the Fort á la Corne Joint Venture ("FALC JV") for a cash price of $23.5 million to Cameco and $42.6 million to UEM, for a total of $66.1 million.

Shore has also entered into an agreement with Newmont Mining Corporation of Canada Limited ("Newmont") whereby Kensington will sell a 40% Participating Interest in the FALC JV to Newmont for a cash price of $170.4 million.

The Cameco, UEM and Newmont transactions have been closed in escrow and will be automatically released when the previously-announced acquisition from De Beers is released from escrow and completed.

On completion of these transactions (including the purchase from De Beers), Kensington will have acquired a net additional 17.755% participating interest in the FALC JV for a net price of $75.7 million, bringing its total Participating Interest to 60%. In addition, upon completion of these transactions, Kensington will become the new operator for the FALC JV.

Mr. MacNeill stated "I am very pleased to welcome Mr. Pierre Lassonde and Newmont as our new Joint Venture partner in the FALC JV. The benefits to be gained from our assuming the operatorship of FALC; the mining expertise available from Newmont and the fact that we have well established operations and people in place with our existing Star Diamond project all combine to provide a much more efficient and focused opportunity for the FALC region as a whole. We remain confident in the potential for this region and will continue to focus on maximizing its potential."

Shore is a Canadian based corporation engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties. Shares of Shore trade on the TSX Exchange under the trading symbol "SGF".

For further information please contact:

Kenneth E. MacNeill, President and CEO or Harvey J. Bay, COO & CFO at (306) 664-2202. -END

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Diamond Mining Impact on People, Wildlife in NWT of Canada

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:33 am

Diamond Mining Impact on People, Wildlife in NWT of Canada ... leID=25304

By Marc Choyt Posted: 02/13/09 14:53

RAPAPORT... The following interview was graciously shared with Rapaport News by jeweler Marc Choyt, whom many of you may also know as an advocate for the fair trade diamond and jewelry cause


During the past few years, the Canadian diamond industry has branded itself as a perfect “guilt-free choice” for the progressive consumer, often to the consternation of those committed to creating benefit through African diamonds. Though no conflict diamonds are coming from Canada, every diamond has an impact, no matter where it comes from.

Tracey Williams, trustee for the Canadian National Parks and Wilderness Society, has been living in a community near the diamond mines since 1999 and has extensive experience within First Nation communities. This interview provides a firsthand account on the effect of massive strip-mining in the tundra on both Natives and wildlife.

Marc Choyt: For many months now, I’ve been trying to get a firsthand understanding of what is taking place in the Canadian diamond sector.

Tracey Williams: For you as jeweler, this is a question of gradients. You have to have a source of gemstones that you can use and that can be consistently supplied, a quality product that you can feel good about.

Marc: I interviewed a wildlife biologist, Kim Poole, last May. He told me that the mines are very well managed.

Tracey: When Kim says that Canadian diamond mines are heavily regulated and heavily looked after, I think that overall, the regulatory process in Canada is as about intelligent on most points as it gets. But one thing to keep in mind: It all depends upon what is enforced and enforceable. You have all these things written down, and that is only as good as the ability to uphold what is put down in principle. In the Northwest Territories (NWT), the Canadian government and the aboriginal people have made some mistakes in dealing with the companies. But aboriginal people have put themselves in a position of authority. They are continually coming back with political clout to assure certain agreements have been signed. So far, diamond mining companies have been adhering more or less to these.

Marc: More or less....You’re implying then that enforcement is, perhaps, inconsistent?

Tracey: There are impact and benefit agreements; these are socio-economic agreements that include training and work quotas that have to be met. They might come in once or twice a year and take pictures to make you think that they are actually there every day, making sure that the environmental standards are being strictly enforced. They are putting much more into the market the image of uprightness than the actuality. But when you compare and contrast, there are people far and away in much worse situations — such as the Navajo. The courts in Canada are strongly aligned with First Nation rights and treaty. That is one thing that is going in favor for First Nations people in Canada. The Territories are an interesting anomaly to North America. They have learned from the context of other places.

Marc: As mines opened, have all the companies that mine diamonds more or less followed the same procedures?

Tracey: De Beers has a big project that they want to develop, which is in a watershed flowing through a 32,000-square-kilometer (12,355-square-mile) study area, for one of Canada’s next major protected areas. People here are not into that [the new diamond project]. De Beers are upholding every environmental assessment but they were working hard to avoid the higher level of review, which is a paneled environmental impact review (EIR). This community said, no you won’t avoid this review, and regional regulatory authorities sided with the communities. This community has been very good about doing their homework. But they have a constant battle to uphold their rights.

De Beers just opened the third diamond mine in the NWT, and are planning a fourth project, Gacho Kue. The people here have a lot of strategic thinkers and fighters and are not interested in seeing that through. The indigenous people have one advocate within the governmental structure here they can depend on: The courts acknowledge treaty rights. Those rights are tied to land tenure.

Marc: What is your involvement with these communities?

Tracey: I work with elders and community researchers on land issues, traditional land use, mapping and collecting oral history for various projects in all kinds of ways. My work is to assist community people to exercise the will of the people, the elders.

Marc: Are these groups more or less aligned in their views?

Tracey: Every community is different in the territories, but there is a universal trait. They are all very passionate about their connection to the land they walk on. It is obvious, and still practiced. That there is nothing more true. I have witnessed it, seen it. I know young leaders, and worked with up-and-coming leaders. The elders had their own hard decisions to make. Their biggest conflicts were around questions like: Do I take the payment that the government is offering me and send my kids to residential school or do I keep them here within their culture and language? What I can offer them in terms of future if they cannot walk the two cultures? Younger leaders today essentially have similar struggles, but they have more outside influence of contemporary North American cultural persuasion and influence to contend with. Consumer culture is a strong force. These influences take time away from language transmission or being on the land. The values espoused there, on TV, in movies and video games, are not ones necessarily aligned with traditional or contemporary understandings of First Nations culture.

What matters most.

What the companies do when they come into an area is to find those people who will be allied with their points of view of how economic development is going to proceed. Then they separate them from people who see the need for other uses, less tangible to immediate economic gain, [for] the land. The companies try their best to fragment the communities

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There Are No Clean Diamonds: What You Need to Know About Can

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:44 am

There Are No Clean Diamonds: What You Need to Know About Canadian Diamonds

Dec 06 2006

There are no clean diamonds. Exploring for them, digging them out of the ground and selling them requires sacrifices from the natural environment, from the wildlife and fish that live on it, and from the Aboriginal people who depend on it.

We want to ensure that the public understand that Canada’s Aboriginal communities are engaged in a daily power struggle to ensure that the mines benefit their people, and to ensure that these mines do not irreversibly damage the intricate web of life on which we all depend.

We want to ensure that the DiCaprio film and its response strengthen the ability of Canadian Aboriginal communities and indigenous communities elsewhere in the world to protect their interests.

Campaigning to Stop “Blood” Diamonds

The Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond, released December 8, 2006, draws important attention to the terrible price that has been paid to mine and market diamonds from Africa. The film follows on two decades of campaigning by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada. Mining companies, trading firms and jewellers have been playing a role in sustaining the bloody wars in Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The coalition of NGOs called on each of these actors in the industry to address the issue.

In 1999, a United Nations study of the war in Angola cited diamonds as a key factor in warring factions’ ability to procure weapons and transport. The report argued that many countries were helping to smuggle and launder Angolan diamonds for the rebels, and the U.N. concluded that the monitoring systems that were in place were “wholly inadequate” to monitor an illegal diamond trade.

The Kimberley Process was negotiated with diamond producing and processing countries to try to control the trade in conflict diamonds. Under this system, each link in the chain of custody must prove to third-party observers that it has effective processes for tracking a diamond while it is in possession. Entire national diamond-trading systems are certified at one time under the Kimberley Process, and governments, therefore, are relied upon to place pressure on their industries. The effectiveness of the Kimberley Process in stopping the flow of conflict diamonds is still unknown.

However, in Sierra Leone, other factors have come together to stop the war, and the diamonds produced there are still an important source of income for many of its citizens. The Network Movement for Justice and Development's Campaign for Just Mining in Sierra Leone does not want to see diamond mining stopped; they want justice, human rights and environmental protection for miners.

There is a continuing campaign led by Earthworks in the United States to get the jewellery industry to accept standards for their diamond sourcing, by following the Golden Rules.

•Respect for basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law
•Free, prior, and informed consent of affected communities.
•Safe working conditions
•Respect for workers’ rights and labour standards (including the eight core International Labour Organisation conventions)
•Ensure that operations are not located in areas of armed or militarized conflict
•Ensure that projects do not force communities off their lands.
•No dumping of mine wastes into the ocean, rivers, lakes, or streams
•Ensure that projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems or other areas of high conservation or ecological value
•Ensure that projects do not generate sulphuric acid in perpetuity
•Cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites
•Fully disclose information about social and environmental effects of projects
•Allow independent verification of the above

Canadian Diamond Producers See an Opportunity

“In a marketplace increasingly worried about blood diamonds -- called that because, amid reports of slave labour and torture, they have helped finance horrific civil wars in countries such as Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone -- Canadian gems have the additional cachet of being conflict-free. Producers here are initiating the concept of branded gems -- stones with a miniscule symbol like the maple leaf implanted on an edge -- and are charging a premium for them.” (Katherine Macklem, Maclean’s, September 8, 2003)

At the same time as the Conflict Diamonds Campaign was underway, Canada had become a diamond – producing nation at the hands of the same transnationals that were plundering diamonds and gold in Africa. Northern Aboriginal peoples were faced with demands from competing and impatient mining companies to stake, explore and to develop mines on their traditional territories. Their lives have been transformed by the complicated and time-consuming negotiations required to protect the interests of their people. And now, they are also being transformed by the impacts of the mines themselves.

“In your eyes,” (De Beers’ Nicky Oppenheimer) told Harvard Business School alumni in Cape Town, “I must be the devil incarnate, the Antichrist. For I am chairman of De Beers, a company that likes to think of itself as the world’s best-known and longest-running monopoly. We make no pretence that we are not seeking to manage the diamond market, to control supply, to manage prices and to act collusively with our partners in the business.” (Victor Mallet, “Rock Hard Beneath the Old Charm”, Financial Times, October 18, 1999.)

The Canada diamond industry is controlled by the biggest transnational mining companies in the world: BHP-Billiton, Rio Tinto and De Beers. The wealth of these three companies has been built on the plunder of indigenous lands around the world. (For more information on these companies, see Mines and Communities.)

When communities have to make the terrible choice to sell their land and labour for diamond money, they need the power to protect their interests in dealing with these giants.

Canada has three operating diamond mines: BHP-Billiton’s Ekati and Rio Tinto’s Diavik mines in the Northwest Territories and Tahera’s Jericho mine in Nunavut (where Teck Cominco recently took a 25% share). DeBeers has the Victor Mine under construction on the James Bay Coast of northern Ontario. DeBeers also has Snap Lake – an underground mine in the development phase in the NWT. DeBeers has also filed applications to operate another diamond mine at Gacho K’ue, about 90 km southeast of Snap Lake, but is fighting the more rigorous environmental assessment that has been ordered.

The grade of Canada’s diamond mines vary from Victor’s average 0.23 carats per tonne of ore, to Ekati’s 1.8 carats/tonne and Diavik’s 3 carats per tonne.

Diamond exploration expenditures were $251 million in 2005, with the Northwest Territories, followed by Nunavut and Saskatchewan with its Fort-à-la-Corne activity, led all Canadian jurisdictions, followed by northern Ontario and the Otish Mountains area of Quebec.

What are some of the problems with Canadian diamonds?

1.The mines are often built in environmentally fragile ecosystems, have significant ecological footprints, and will significantly impact upon the caribou, wolverine, bears, ptarmigan and fish which provide food for Aboriginal peoples.

2.Exploration and mining distort and disrupt the cultural and social lives of Aboriginal peoples and the regional economy and very few of the financial benefits from the mines return to the people who suffer most of the impacts.

3.The federal, provincial and territorial regulatory frameworks in Canada are inadequate to protect the environment from long term and cumulative environmental effects

1. The ecological footprint of the diamond mines:

Ekati: Canada’s first diamond mine, was “the largest construction project completed north of the tree line. It is 350 kilometres north of Yellowknife, and is accessible by air or ice road. “During the construction phase, more than 40 million kilograms of building materials, trucks, diesel fuel and food were moved by truck over the 475 kilometre ice road from Yellowknife to the mine.” (from the Ekati website) In 2002, the footprint was already 1400 hectares.

150 kimberlite bodies have been discovered within the mineral lease area held by the company area, although most of these do not carry economic diamond concentrations. Ekati has open-pit mined from the Panda, Koala, Fox, Beartooth, and Misery pipes, and underground production from Panda with future production from the underground at Koala. The project is expected to have a life of 25 years or beyond (dating from 1998).
Koala is 900 metres in diameter and 230 metres deep, Panda is 800 metres in diameter and 300 metres deep.

Each open-pit requires the draining of the lake that sits atop the kimberlite pipe and then some 35-40 million tonnes/year of waste rock is excavated from the pits. Any fish are removed. The ore feeds a central 18,000 tonne/day-capacity processing plant. The 3.4 kilometre Panda Diversion Channel diverts water around the Panda and Koala pits into Kodiak Lake. Other lakes were taken for disposal of processed kimberlite and waste rock.

Ekati is one of the most closely monitored mines in Canada, as the First Nations involved negotiated for the company to fund an Independent Monitoring Agency as a watchdog. In its report for 2004, the IEMA reported that total habitat loss to date was 19.7 km2 (twice the size of Yellowknife). It noted an increase in all monitored lakes of total dissolved solids, potassium and ammonia; and an increase in some lakes of nitrates and molybdenum. It has also been found that some of the polymers in the processed kimberlite are chronically toxic to water fleas (a crucial part of the aquatic food chain).

BHP-Billiton’s last closure plan for Ekati was approved in 2002 although the company is now required to produce an updated plan that accurately reflects current operations. There is some question as to whether the financial security currently held is adequate to allow for a third-party to carry out closure and reclamation.

“The clay slurries present serious, and as yet, unresolved closure challenges for the company. Despite questioning by the Agency at the workshop, it is apparently not yet known by the company how these, and the transition zones with beached tailings which are prone to liquefaction, can be effectively stabilized and reclaimed. For example, it is not known how to place a waste rock cover (as outlined in the currently approved tailings closure plan), or how to construct internal erosion control measures within the tailings facility.”

The Bathurst caribou herd is the largest mainland herd in the NWT. The herd migrates through the area of the diamond mines. Dust from mining is a serious threat to caribou, as it can spread out and contaminate the lichen, on which they depend. The herd has declined in numbers from a high of about 400,000 animals in the 1980s to 128,000 in 2006. This reduction is apparently still within the range of natural variability but caribou are much more sensitive to disturbance when a herd is in decline. There is some statistically significant data from limited satellite collaring that female caribou tend to avoid mine sites in the critical post-calving period. (See “Assessment Of Bathurst Caribou Movements and Distribution in the Slave Geological Province”.)

The Diavik Diamond Mine is located on Lac De Gras about 300 km (180 miles) north of Yellowknife. It is located on 20 square kilometre island, informally called East Island. It employs 700, and produces 8 million carats (1,600 kg) of diamonds annually. There are three ore bodies named A154 South, A154 North, and A418.

The area was first staked in 1992 and construction began in 2001, with production commencing in January 2003. It is connected by a 475 km ice road and a 1,585 metre (5,200 ft) gravel runway that regularly accommodates Boeing 737 jet aircraft.

The mine is owned by a joint venture between the Aber Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group. The lifespan of the mine is expected to be from 16 to 22 years.

Aboriginal people named the lake Ekati for quartz veins found in local bedrock outcrops resembling caribou fat. Lac de Gras is 60 kilometres long, and averages 16 kilometres wide. Lac de Gras has a 4,000 square kilometre drainage area. Lac de Gras, with Lac du Sauvage to the northeast, form the headwaters of the Coppermine River flowing 520 kilometres from western Lac de Gras to the Arctic Ocean. It has a maximum depth of 56 metres. Water temperature ranges from 0°C to 4°C in winter and 4°C to 18°C in summer. The water quality resembles distilled water. Although aquatic productivity is low, lake trout, cisco, whitefish, arctic grayling, burbot, longnose sucker, and slimy sculpin are among the fish the live in the lake.

With Diavik mining the bottom of the lakebed and discharging its mine water back into the lake, there is increasing concern over water quality changes. Diavik is discharging more ammonia than permitted under its original licence and there are serious concerns about the aquatic baseline and the ability of the current aquatic effects monitoring program to detect changes in water quality. These concerns recently came to a head during the November 2006 Wek’ezhii Land and Water Board public hearings for Diavik’s water licence renewal.

Like Ekati, there are also concerns about dust and contamination of the lichen.

Diavik has an environmental agreement with the affected First Nations, the NWT and the federal government. The Agreement can be found at: . The Agreement establishes an Environmental Monitoring Advisory Board (EMAB).

The Jericho Mine: Tahera Diamond Corporation is a Canadian-owned diamond exploration, development and mining company. Tahera’s wholly-owned Jericho project, commercial production of which was achieved effective July 1st, 2006, represents Nunavut’s first diamond mine. Teck Cominco recently acquired a 25% interest in the mine due to the junior company’s need for cash and mining expertise.

Jericho is a kimberlite deposit located at the north end of Contwoyto Lake, 25 kilometres north of the Lupin gold mine site, in the Slave Geological Province. The deposit is located on Crown land although parts of the proposed project will be on land with Inuit-owned surface rights.

The federal regulatory instruments will be in the name of Benachee Resources Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tahera Diamond Corporation.

The final “Part 5” environmental review of the Jericho project was completed in July 2004 with the issuance of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s Project Certificate. An Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement was signed between the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the Tahera Diamond Corporation on September 8, 2004. On January 25, 2005, the Minister approved and signed the water licence.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada executed land lease documents with Benachee Resources Inc. on February 11, 2005 in order to allow the company to use Crown land at the project site.

The mine is an open pit – 350 metres long, 500 metres wide, and 270 metres deep. Total processed kimberlite is 5.52 million tonnes at a nominal rate of 680,000 tonnes/year; average grade mined is 0.85 carat per tonne (recovered, diluted); total waste from the mine is 28.6 million tonnes (or 33.6 million tonnes when the allowance for flattening pit slopes is included).

The fine tailings will be deposited in the Long Lake tailings impoundment located in a long narrow lake southwest of the processing plant area. Based on current reserves estimates, approximately 830,000 tonnes of fine tailings solids will be produced over the mine life.

The first four years of production will be from a land-based open pit, followed by about two years of underground mining. A stockpile of ore would be generated during this time so that processing would continue for two years after the end of mining operations for a total mine life of only eight years.

The Victor Mine: The Victor Diamond Mine is a massive diamond mine being proposed by the DeBeers diamond conglomerate in northeastern Ontario near Attawapiskat on James Bay in northern Ontario. This region is part of one of the largest, intact wilderness areas left on earth and currently has no industrial development. There are several First Nations communities in the area that are accessible by winter road only. This wilderness supports abundant wildlife, including threatened woodland caribou, healthy fisheries, clean and plentiful water, and sustains the traditional activities of First Nations.

The mine site will cover an area of 5,000 hectares. The open pit would be 230 metres deep and up to 950 metres wide. The ecological footprint of the mine (the area its operations will impact), however, is much larger. Up to 260,000 hectares -- an area roughly four times the size of the City of Toronto -- will be impacted by dewatering -- the pumping of water out of the pit -- which is likely to massively change water flows above and below ground throughout the area.

A new hydro corridor and access road from the coastal community of Attawapiskat to the mine site 90 kilometres away will bisect intact wilderness. An existing winter road along the James Bay coast has been upgraded for heavy use by large haul trucks (currently it is used infrequently by community members), thus furthering spreading the ecological footprint of the mine.

Environmental Impacts of the Victor Mine include:

Water impacts:

•100,000 m3 of salty water will be pumped out of the pit each day into the Attawapiskat River. This is equivalent to 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day or 14,600 per year.
•The flow of the Nayshkatooyaow River will be decreased by at least 15%.
•A 2.6 kilometre stretch of South Granny Creek will be “moved”.
•1.2 million m3 of muskeg, including trees and other plants, will be removed.
•River crossings may lead to siltation of rivers and creeks and impact water quality.
•Fish populations such as lake sturgeon, brook trout, walleye and whitefish may be harmed by the changes in water flow and water quality.
•Methyl mercury may be released by the dewatering of the muskeg
Land impacts:

•2.5 million tonnes of rock would be processed (piled, crushed and dumped) each year.
•28.7 million tonnes of rock would have been dug from the ground over the life of the mine and dumped in the surrounding area.
•The waste rock may leach chemicals, such as acids, into the surrounding water.
•The mine would sit on top of a nationally significant geological feature called a karst, which has been described as the “best developed and most extensive karst topography in Ontario.”
Wildlife impacts:

•The area of the proposed mine and its associated infrastructure provides critical habitat for woodland caribou, a threatened species. Woodland caribou are extremely sensitive to industrial activity and usually disappear from areas where it occurs. After the mine closes and the site is re-vegetated, studies say that “excellent habitat for moose” (shrubs and young forest) will be created, which also means that the habitat that previously supported caribou (older forest and bogs) will be diminished. This may result in the local extinction of caribou. See Uncertain Future – Woodland Caribou and Canada’s Boreal Forest: A report on government action.
•The water table would be affected for up to 260,000 hectares surrounding the mine. This would dry out muskeg, change the vegetation of the area and reduce the abundance of lichens, a key food for caribou.
•The noise of the explosives used to construct the mine and from pit operations combined with trucks bringing supplies and materials to and from the mine site (60 trucks per day) would negatively impact wildlife behaviour.
•Easier motorized access (better and more roads) to and in the region will increase hunting pressure on game species.
•Habitat for migratory birds will also be affected.

2. Exploration and mining distort the cultural and social lives of indigenous communities, and a small portion of the financial benefits return to the affected peoples

Muskrat Dam

When the community of Muskrat Dam in northern Ontario arrived at Agusk Lake for their spring goose hunt in late April 2006, they discovered that exploration activities undertaken by De Beers Canada Inc. had driven away the geese. The elders of the community depend on the traditional community goose hunt for food.

Muskrat Dam has a moratorium on development in their traditional territory. In a letter to the Ministry of Mines (OMNDM), Chief Vernon Morris writes: “The lands in question are traditional lands essential to the maintenance of the distinctive culture of the Muskrat Dam First Nation, and the exploration program have seriously disrupted the Muskrat Dam First Nation’s spring goose hunt. There will be few geese for the community of Muskrat Dam this year.”

A press release addressing the situation issued by De Beers on May 10, claimed that the company had approached Muskrat Dam First Nation in March 2006 to request a meeting “to enquire about the community’s traditional land and pursuits as well as to discuss the early exploration work planned in the region for spring of 2006. This request was declined.”

Chief Morris categorically denies that De Beers made any contact with Muskrat Dam regarding this exploration plan. In a letter to De Beers Canada on May 15, he wrote: “That statement is incorrect. I am Chief of this community and I have no knowledge of such a meeting request.”

There are nine First Nations in northern Ontario that have imposed moratoriums on resource development.

The Ekati and Diavik mines have entered agreements with a number of First Nations whose lands are affected by the mine – the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council (now known as the Tlicho Government), Yellowknife Dene First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the Lutsel K’e First Nation – that cover everything from contracting out to training. The Diavik commitment is to have 66 per cent of the work force from the North, with 35 per cent aboriginal. Diavik says it now exceeds both commitments and has pumped $233-million into the territorial economy since the mine was constructed, three quarters of that going to northern businesses. “Participation agreements” have been signed that apparently provide for annual cash payments in the order of about $1 million per year. There agreements are confidential but do not appear to be tied to profitability or involve revenue sharing.

The negotiation of these agreements continues to be incredibly time-consuming and disruptive for First Nations Leadership. An excellent descriptions of the process can be found In Dealing Full Force, published by the North-South Institute and Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation in 2006, and in Ellen Bielawski’s book, Rogue Diamonds: the Rush for Northern Riches on Dene Land, (Douglas and MacIntyre, 2003).

“Community leaders were daunted and overwhelmed by trying to understand the proposed plans for the diamond mining, and what the implications could be for the people and the traditional territory in order to negotiate a good deal. “We’re trappers who live off the land. And people live in the bush and trap,” one community member said. “And all of a sudden this mining company comes in. We didn’t know anything about mines, or how to deal with it. That was our first experience. We didn’t know how to negotiate with them.” (from Dealing Full Force)

Ekati is also the only diamond mine in Canada with a union. The Public Service Alliance of Canada was certified in July 2004. In 2006, when they tried to negotiate their first contract with BHP-Billiton, they faced stiff opposition from the company, who brought in replacement workers. The strike lasted from May until June 30, 2006. The union were only able to achieve a one-year contract, and very modest concessions from the company.

The big money – the billions – goes out, much to the growing concern of Premier Joe Handley and the government of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Handley claims that, since 2004, $286-million in royalties have been paid by the diamond operations to Ottawa, as the mines are on federal Crown land. The Northwest Territories, says Mr. Handley, received “not one cent” in return.

Over the coming two decades, Mr. Handley says, Ottawa will collect $23-billion in taxes and royalties. At the same time, the NWT government has failed to exercise its ability to raise taxes from the diamond mines. When BHP’s Ekati mine was about to enter production, the NWT government pushed very hard for a guaranteed supply of rough diamonds to build a local secondary industry based on sorting, cutting and polishing of gem quality diamonds. The territorial government even provided loan guarantees to prospective secondary diamond companies to locate facilities in the NWT. Unfortunately, several of these ventures have failed, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars.

There have been local impacts from the diamond mines in the capital city of Yellowknife. Housing prices have skyrocketed and drug-related crime is on the increase. Local service providers and retailers find it very difficult to retain staff and attract new employees given the attraction of the diamond mines and related services. Since none of the companies pay municipal taxes, the City of Yellowknife has to bear this burden without increased revenues.

The December 2005 Environmental Audit in the NWT found that; “While traditional economic indicators show that the NWT population and economy are growing, there is no commensurate progress in community wellness with numerous measures of social well-being being found to be less favourable than national comparisons. The social problems identified appear even more pronounced in the NWT smaller communities and are more associated with the Aboriginal population.”

Jericho Mine in Nunavut: Tahera says that up to 60 jobs will be created during construction. Employment during mining would peak at 116 during open-pit mining, decreasing to 48 during underground mining and to 40 while processing stockpiled ore. The Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement was implemented prior to the start of mining operations. Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven as well as the Northwest Territories are best situated to provide services and employees to the project.

The company estimated that benefits from taxes to the Crown and the Nunavut Government would be in the tens of millions of dollars. However, most of these benefits are based on the company making a profit, and using up tax exemptions for exploration and development expenses. However, since it started operations, the company has been in financial difficulty.

Under an agreement with Tiffany, signed in October 2004, in return for credit, the US jeweller will buy the entire diamond production from Tahera’s mine in Nunavut, and use a large part for its own manufacturing. It will market the remainder for a fee on the international market.

On 15 October 2006, Tahera announced that it expects to produce fewer diamonds than expected due to lower grade kimberlite and slower than expected processing rates. The company also said it is in talks with Tiffany regarding the deferral of certain payments with respect to the existing credit facility.

Victor Mine in Ontario: Of total exploration expenditures to 2003, slightly over 12% of the total was paid out for Attawapiskat labour, goods and services. Over 40% of the local workforce of 400 was employed by De Beers during the time that the company was trying to obtain its ‘social licence to operate”. Although DeBeers estimated total cash inflow to Attawapiskat in the order of $235 million from 2005 to 2023, it is likely that transfer payments from the federal government to Attawapiskat will be reduced in proportion to earned income.

“There are real challenges to employment of the people of Attawapiskat in jobs requiring more than limited skills.” The more educated are already working, and the unemployed are people with low and very low educational achievement. During the 3-4 months the camp was open last year, 45% of the 60-90 people were Aboriginal, most from Attawapiskat.

“Uptake of direct business opportunities (by the affected community) will depend on the degree to which new businesses are started in response to project supply requirements and on the revitalization of the Attawapiskat economic development corporation. There have been recent initiatives in Attawapiskat to start joint ventures with, for example, catering, road construction, and maintenance suppliers from outside the area”. The communities have a strong interest in accessing training in areas of high value to large mines, including administration and secretarial work, computers, heavy equipment operation and trades.

There is definite concern regarding inflationary pressures, first on wages and then more broadly in the local economy. Inflation will put pressure on housing costs, energy costs and food stuffs. The average wage from the Victor project will be $40,000. Present average income in Attawapiskat is $17,000. The total increase in community wages will be $3-4 million annually. The increase to average household income and the economy as a whole will be in the order of 26 to 35%. “Increased income can have negative effects at the individual and family level, and these can spill over into negative community effects.” There is an association with increased incomes and gambling, drugs and alcohol, and there is a likelihood that there will be a greater income gap and increasing inequity

The Victor project may draw home some of the almost 45% of Attawapiskat First Nation members that live off reserve. These returnees may obtain jobs instead of the on-reserve population, and put pressure on supplies and services, particularly housing. They may cause “inflation, contribute to drug and alcohol problems, undermine traditional values, compromise public health and security”. They may create demands for increased social and recreational services.

“At the end of the three year closure phase, all expenditures, with the exception of limited employment – related to environmental aspects and monitoring, will end. This has the potential to cause economic and associated social dislocation.” The only possibility for future economic development foreseen by DeBeers is more mines. There are at least 8 other kimberlites in the region in the De Beers portfolio. “The Proponent has stated that while these other kimberlites have not been fully evaluated, there is reasonable potential for at least a few of these other kimberlites to become mineable, and that mining these kimberlites could extend the life of the project, perhaps by as much as 2 to 4 years, as a best guess. Further, none of these other kimberlites, as currently understood, would be capable of supporting a mine on their own, because of their small size.”

3. Federal, provincial and territorial regulatory frameworks in Canada are inadequate to protect the environment from long term environmental effects

An Environmental Audit, required under the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act in the North west Territories shows some of the shortcomings of the current regulatory system.

Conducted by an independent auditor, the first-ever NWT Environmental Audit was completed in December, 2005. Unique in Canada, this audit reviewed the effectiveness of programs and processes related to monitoring cumulative impacts and the effectiveness of the regulation of land and water use in the Mackenzie Valley and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

The Report found the following:

•Current consultation practices were found to overload the capacity of local communities to participate in a meaningful manner.
•Air quality impacts associated with activities in the NWT remain, with few exceptions, largely unregulated.
•There is an absence of clear regulatory tools to assess and mitigate social, economic and cultural impacts from development.
•Although in 1992, the Government of Canada committed that a method to monitor cumulative impacts would be provided, a Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP) has not yet been implemented and limited regional/territorial environmental baseline and cumulative impact data are available to decision makers. This gap is tied directly to the absence of land use plans.
•There are several instances of unfavourable conditions and deteriorating trends identified. The two most disturbing of these are: the recent large decreases recorded for the size of caribou herds that Aboriginal people living in the NWT rely on as a major source of subsistence; and, the need for action in the area of socio-economics and community wellness.
In Ontario, the other diamond jurisdiction, an application to the Environmental Commissioner under the Environmental Bill of Rights filed by CPAWS-Wildlands League and MiningWatch Canada in December 2006 states:

The current situation with respect to the assessment of the potential environmental impacts of proposed mining projects is uncoordinated and incomprehensive. Approvals of proposed mining projects occur under the Mining Act, with exemptions and piecemeal assessment of potential environmental harm under the Environmental Assessment Act.

More information about this issue is in the fall 2006 MiningWatch Canada newsletter.

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Related Items
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•Comments on the Comprehensive Study Report on the Victor Diamond Mine at Attawapiskat
•DeBeers' Victor Diamond Project in Attawapiskat
•Comments on the Environmental Assessment of the Victor Diamond Project
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... Most mines in ON escape meaningful environmental assessm

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:00 am

Outrageous! Most mines in Ontario escape meaningful environmental assessment.

Oct 24 2006

Mining projects in Ontario are supposed to be subjected to two levels of Environmental Assessment: Federal and Provincial.

The federal environmental assessment process is triggered if the mining project or any parts of it will require federal permits or authorizations under the Fisheries Act, the Explosives Act, the Navigable Waters Act, etc. We have increasingly seen that federal departments are only looking at those parts of the mine project which will require the specific permit from them, and – despite the language of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act – are not reviewing large mining projects at all. Generally the federal government assumes that the Province reviews the mine itself.

However, in Ontario, the provincial environmental assessment of mines will rarely take place at all, because of a little known and poorly understood exemption called “Declaration Order MNDM-3/3”. This Declaration Order, in place since 2003, exempts the granting (or renewal) of mining claims and licences on Crown land from the EA process.

On June 30, 2006, the Minister of the Environment approved another extension (after having already approved a 2-year extension to the 1-year interim Declaration Order in 2004) of the MNDM (Ministry of Northern Development and Mines) Declaration Order regarding Disposition of Crown Resources (also known as MNDM-3/3).

The order can be found at: ... glish/EAs/

The original exemption order (MNR 26/7) was given in 1981 and was developed during discussions about how to streamline Environmental Assessment for any disposition of Crown resources, including resource extraction licences, that were then the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Environmental groups at that time were more concerned about logging than about mining, and – with little public attention – mining claims and licences were covered by the exemption order. A lengthy, contested debate lead to a process whereby most logging licences are now determined by “Class EAs”; that is they are treated as a group, rather than individually.

There was no similar public process for mining, and the granting of Crown land for claims and licences remained subject to the exemption order and exempt from any environmental review (except where the conditions of the exemption, the Mining Act approvals process, or specific aspects of the project such as road and power supply, come under the jurisdiction of other ministries). However, when the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines was created and made responsible for issuing mining claims and licences, the MNR Exemption Order might no longer apply. The government responded with a special order to ensure that mining licences and claims remained exempt from individual EAs.

The Declaration Order stated: “the Crown and the public will be interfered with and damaged by the undue time and expense required to prepare environmental assessments for undertakings that are expected to have insignificant environmental effects on the environment.”

In May, 2003, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment posted a notice to the Environmental Bill of Rights registry (EBR) regarding the parts of the original exemption order that apply to mining (#RA03E0015). There were 5 comments received from the public, including from MiningWatch Canada. All objected to the Declaration Order for Mining. All stated that EAs for mining were warranted given the enormous environmental footprint that mining created.

An "interim order" for one year was granted to permit mining to continue under the status quo while MoE and MNDM would develop a long term environmental assessment strategy. It has never been completed.
The MNDM Declaration Order (MNDM-3/2) was extended on June 8, 2004 (without public consultation that we are aware of, and was not posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights [EBR] Registry) and expired on June 11, 2006. Now, the Declaration Order (MNDM-3/3) is further extended, as of June 30, 2006, for three more years. Again, there has been no public consultation and no posting to the EBR Registry.

There is provision in the Declaration Order for the Minister of the Environment to go to Cabinet and request that a mining project be subject to individual EA, despite the Declaration Order, but nothing happens automatically.

We are concerned that the environmental and social impacts of mining at all stages (prospecting, exploration, development, operations, and closure) have lasting and serious consequences, and that the issuing of mining licences and the administration of the Mining Act should be subject to individual environmental assessments. This Declaration Order perpetuates a situation where mining activity does not automatically get the appropriate scrutiny, and we object most strenuously to it. The Declaration Order understates the environmental consequences of mining and decreases government responsibility and capacity to restrain its more egregious impacts. It is outrageous.
Environmental Assessment

Newsletter 23: Summer/Autumn 2006


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Comments submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) Regarding the Comprehensive Study of the Aquarius Mine
Supreme Court of Canada gives public a voice on major industrial projects – Court ensures meaningful environmental assessments across country
MiningWatch Intervenes in Federal Environmental Assessment of Controversial Prosperity Project
Ontario’s New Mining Act Leaves Gaping Holes
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Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:06 pm


September 30, 2009
home >> NEWSLETTERS >>

The diamond industry is one with roots in exploitation, apartheid and war. Owen English investigates the dirtier facets of diamonds.

The diamond industry has traditionally been dominated by De Beers, a company whose control and market share have lessened in recent years but is still the world's largest diamond mining company. The sale of diamonds has been used to finance armed groups across Africa fuelling a series of wars in which over 4 million people have been killed[1] and many more displaced, raped or brutalised. It is no surprise that diamonds produced in this way have earned the moniker of 'conflict' or 'blood' diamonds.

Historically, De Beers, with its massive control over the world's diamond distribution channels, did little or nothing to stop the flow of these blood diamonds. It was only in recent years with increasing awareness and pressure threatening to taint diamonds' image that diamond-producing countries came up with a scheme, the Kimberly Process, meant to stop conflict diamonds getting into the supply chain. Unfortunately, the scheme is far from watertight; it does not require independent inspection and, according to Amnesty International, is "open to abuse"[2]. It is worth noting that the Kimberly Process definition of a conflict diamond is one which is used to finance 'rebel groups', neatly ignoring abuses by governments in diamond mining. Meanwhile the diamond industry is able to portray itself as squeaky-clean and brush the problem under the carpet.

Workers in the diamond industry are also exploited. Most of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in India[3] often by child workers in terrible conditions for low pay ($15 - $20 a week, if they're lucky[4]). Child workers sometimes even work in bondage, almost as slaves, to pay off debts[5]. Over half of these child cutters are suffering from preventable work-related ailments such as kidney dysfunction, lung disease, stomach problems, wheezing, pains in their joints and eyesores[6].

Many African diamond miners live in company-owned homes and compounds, and there are reports of companies, De Beers in particular, making use of this to exert control over their workers' personal lives. For example, by refusing to let black workers live with their families (a restriction not applied to white and coloured employees in a mine where "the administration is all white"[7]). This suggests that apartheid is still alive and well in Africa. In another case, miners striking in Botswana (after complaining of large gaps between managers' wages and their own) were not only sacked but forcibly evicted from their company-owned homes[8].

The diamond industry also leads to environmental ruin. In areas where diamonds have been spread over a large area by rivers and erosion, groups of garimpeiros (freelance miners) dig the earth, washing and sifting for diamonds sometimes for months at a time without success. Some have even been buried alive while digging[9].

Non-artisanal diamond mining tends to use open-pit mining techniques, which disturb huge areas of land and their eco-systems, causing pollution of groundwater, erosion and other problems[10]. These problems are particularly bad in countries where there is little or no environmental regulation. Mining and digging for diamonds has devastated huge areas of land in Sierra Leone and Angola, turning previously fertile farmland into crater-filled landscapes, providing breeding grounds for mosquitos and exposing the population to increased risk of malaria and water-borne diseases[11].

Survival International, the NGO that supports tribal people worldwide, have many case studies of indigenous lands seized for mining purposes. For example, in Botswana thousands of Central Kalahari Bushmen have been forcibly evicted from their communities in preparation for a planned diamond mine which could affect over 5000 square kilometres of land[12] - an issue which has even led to several of De Beers' supermodel figureheads quitting in protest[13].

Then there's the soothing, manipulating voice of the media to wash over your worries. It was through De Beers' massive advertising and PR campaign in the 40s that the association between diamonds and romance became widespread (the “Diamonds are Forever” campaign). Having established monopoly control over the supply (and therefore price) of diamonds, De Beers sought to keep demand high by "altering social attitudes" - with remarkable success[14].


[1] Conflict-Free Diamond Council, ... eaths.html viewed 22/09/06
[2] 'Kimberly Process', Wikipedia ... d=69644352 viewed 22/09/06
[3] '11 out of 12 diamonds are polished in India', diamond industry PR website, viewed 22/09/06
[4] P50, Janine Roberts , (2003), Glitter and Greed, The Disinformation Company: New York
[5] P51, Glitter and Greed
[6] 'Child Slave Labor in India's Diamond Industry', Meghan Hoppe viewed 22/09/06
[7] P35, Glitter and Greed
[8] afrol News, 31/08/04 viewed 22/09/06
[9] John Reed, LA Times 28/06/04 viewed 22/09/06
[10] Diamond Trade report, David Bew, Trade and Environment Database viewed 22/09/06
[11] Sierra Leone mining report, Sarah Sipkins, Trade and Environment Database viewed 22/09/06
[12] Survival International 24/02/06 viewed 22/09/06
[13] Edward Simpkins, Sunday Telegraph(Canada) 20/07/05 viewed 22/09/06
[14] 'The Diamond Mind', Edward Jay Epstein viewed 22/09/06
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MINING’S MANY FACES - Environmental Mining Law And Policy in

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:08 pm

MINING’S MANY FACES - Environmental Mining Law And Policy in Canada

The Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy

For further information on this report or the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, please contact us at (416) 923-3529, or
Written by Colin Chambers, MA, Research Associate, and Mark Winfield, Ph.D., Director of Research
© Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, 2000 ISBN 1-896588-42-5
CIELAP is an independent, not-for-profit environmental law and policy research and education organisation, founded in 1970 as the Canadian Environmental Law Research Foundation.
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy
517 College Street, Suite 400, Toronto, Ont., M6G 4A2
(416) 923-3529
(416) 923-5949 fax


This report’s origins are with an initiative launched by the Environmental Law Institute in 1995. The Pollution Prevention in Mining in the Americas Project brought together environmental law centres in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil to examine their national environmental laws related to the planning, design, operation and closure of metal mining operations in the Americas.

Given the high level of investment by Canadian mining companies in Latin America over the past decade, and the environmental and social impacts of these activities, the Latin American partners in this project were particularly interested in obtaining a description and assessment of the requirements in place in Canada.

The first phase of the project, the development of responses by the project partners, including the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP), to a series of common research questions, was completed in fall of 1999 with the support of the U.S. Aid for International Development (USAID).

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) which had launched a Mining Policy Research Initiative in Latin America in 1998, then agreed to provide resources to CIELAP to develop the Canadian responses to research questions into a publishable report, and to translate its key findings into Spanish. This reflected the lack of comprehensive baseline information on environmental law and policy applicable to metal mining in Canada, and the demand for such materials in Latin America and Canada.

The resulting study, Mining’s Many Faces: Environmental Mining Law and Policy in Canada is intended to provide an introductory overview of current environmental laws and policies applicable to the metal mining sector, major policy trends, and the politics of mineral development in Canada. It also provides an assessment of the existing regime relative to the requirements of a fair and effective system for the environmental regulation of metal mining activities.

It is our hope that this study will contribute to informed discussion and debate about the future of mineral development in the Americas, and its relationship to environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Anne Mitchell, Executive Director
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy
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Court Orders Canada to Report Pollution Data for Mines

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:14 pm

Court Orders Canada to Report Pollution Data for Mines ... -27-02.asp

OTTAWA, Canada, April 27, 2009 (ENS) - The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the Canadian government must stop withholding data on one of the country's largest sources of pollution - millions of metric tonnes of toxic mine tailings and waste rock from mining operations.

The ruling came late Thursday in a case brought by two environmental groups - Great Lakes United and Mining Watch Canada - represented by Ecojustice, a public interest law firm.

"This is a huge decision for environmental justice in Canada," said Ecojustice lawyer Justin Duncan.

Fellow Ecojustice lawyer Marlene Cashin said, "The court has unequivocally upheld the right of Canadians to know when the health of their communities and the environment is under threat from one of the country's largest sources of toxic pollution."

The Federal Court sided with the environmental groups and issued an Order demanding that the federal government immediately begin publicly reporting mining pollution data from 2006 onward to the National Pollutant Release Inventory, NPRI.

The decision describes the Canadian government's pace as "glacial" and scolds the government for turning a "blind eye" to the issue and dragging its feet for "more than 16 years."

In their arguments, the groups alleged that the Minister of Environment broke the law when he failed to collect and report this pollution information from mines in Canada under the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

"This is a victory that should be celebrated from Smithers to Voisey's Bay," said MiningWatch Canada spokesman Jamie Kneen. "The public has a right to know what kind of toxic liabilities are being created every day."

"It's always been bizarre to us that the mining industry should not face the same reporting requirements as every other industrial sector, and we're pleased that the Court agreed with us," said Kneen.

By contrast, since 1998, the U.S. government has required mining companies to report all pollutants under the American equivalent of the NPRI, the Toxics Release Inventory, TRI.

In 2005, the 72 mines reporting to the TRI released more than 500 million kilograms of mine tailings and waste rock - accounting for 27 percent of all U.S. pollutants reported.

With the Federal Court of Canada decision, pollution data from Canada's 80 metal mining facilities must reported under the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

But achieving that outcome is a complex undertaking says Justine Laurie-Lean, vice president, environment and health, with the Mining Association of Canada. The association, a trade industry group, had intervenor status but was not a party to the lawsuit.

"We are committed to transparency, but we did not feel that the NPRI is the right mechanism to use in reporting this information. But the court has ruled that it should be part of the NPRI, so we will work with the government to comply," Laurie-Lean told ENS in an interview.

"The NPRI is general, not sector specific, so trying to figure out how to make this work is going to take some time, and be intensive," she said.
Established in 1992, Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory requires annual disclosure of pollutant releases into the environment by major facilities, but it is not specific by industrial sector. It is a general reporting mechanism, and with this ruling, the court has ordered a change in how that will be defined.

The Toxic Release Inventory in the United States specifies what kind of facility will report, but NPRI does not, Laurie-Lean explained. "You're included if you meet various threshold criteria unless you're specifically exempt."

"Our sector has been reporting in the past on releases from the facilities such as tailings leaks and dust, that has been reported," she said.
Two levels of government are involved in making the changes required by the court ruling.

In Canada, the NPRI falls under Environment Canada, a federal agency, while mining industry operations are regulated by the provincial and territorial governments. However, effluents from metal mines are regulated federally, but individual territories or provinces can set more stringent regulations.

The next move is up to the federal government. The Minister of Environment will decide whether or not to appeal the ruling, and if it is not to be appealed, to decide how the NPRI will be restructured to comply with the court's decision.

"This is an issue we have been working on for a very long time," said Laurie-Lean. "It has been discussed in the multi-stakeholder program for more than a decade."

Meanwhile, the Canadian public has been in the dark about what pollutants are being emitted by metal mines, said John Jackson of the plaintiff group Great Lakes United.

"Canadians living in places like Sudbury, with mining operations in their backyards, were blindfolded while millions of kilograms of carcinogens and heavy metals accumulated in tailings ponds and waste rock piles across the country," Jackson said. "With this decision, the blindfold comes off and citizens can truly hold these companies to account for their pollution and the environmental and health dangers they pose."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.
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When Is a Lake Not a Lake?

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:19 pm

When Is a Lake Not a Lake?

Canadian lakes set to be reclassified as mining-waste dumps

Posted at 10:07 AM on 17 Jun 2008

Sixteen lakes across Canada are set to be quietly reclassified as allowable areas for mines to dump toxic waste. While Canadian law technically disallows chucking harmful substances into fish habitat, lakes can be reclassified as "tailings impoundment areas" under a little-known subsection of mining effluent regulations. With a lake at their disposal (literally), mining companies avoid the cost and trouble of building containment ponds for their muck. Besides, lakes are peachy for waste disposal, says Elizabeth Gardiner of Canada's Mining Association: "[W]ith this kind of topography and this number of natural lakes and depressions and ponds ... in the end it's really the safest option for human health and for the environment."

sources: CBC News, The Globe and Mail


Lakes across Canada face being turned into mine dump sites ... lakes.html

Lakes are in B.C., Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, NWT and Nunavut

Last Updated: Monday, June 16, 2008 | 9:42 PM ET Comments719Recommend1285
By Terry Milewski, CBC News

CBC News has learned that 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

Environmentalists say the process amounts to a "hidden subsidy" to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against the destruction of fish habitat.

Lakes proposed for use as mine tailings ponds:

Since the introduction of Schedule Two of mining effluent regulations under the Fisheries Act, in 2002, 16 lakes have been proposed for reclassification as tailings dumps.
Four of the 16 are already being used as dumps - all in Newfoundland. Two of those are at the Duck Pond Mine and the other two are older mines due to be brought under Schedule Two retroactively.

Only one of the 16 - Kemess North in B.C. - has been turned down. Eight are to be decided in the coming year.

a.. Kemess North - Duncan Lake - REJECTED.
b.. Kutcho Creek - Andrea Creek.
c.. Ruby Creek - Ruby Creek watershed.
d.. Prosperity - Fish Lake.
e.. Red Chris.
f.. Mount Milligan.

a.. Bucko Lake.

Newfoundland and Labrador:
a.. Duck Pond Mine - Trout Pond and Gill's Brook.
b.. Carol Mine - Wabush Lake.
c.. Wabush Mine - Flora Lake.
d.. Long Harbour - Sandy Pond.

Northwest Territories:
a.. Winter Lake.

a.. Doris North Project - Tail Lake.
b.. Meadowbank - Second Portage Lake.
c.. High Lake.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."

Full Text: ... lakes.html


Mining firms apply to dump waste in lakes


June 17, 2008

Vancouver -- Mining companies are asking Environment Canada to let them dump mining waste in lakes across the country.

Although companies say turning lakes into tailings ponds is often the best way to deal with the toxic effluent the mines create, a spokesman for the David Suzuki Foundation says the ecological effects on Canada's bodies of water could be devastating.

Sixteen mining companies have applied to be allowed to use lakes from B.C. to Nunavut to Newfoundland as tailings ponds under Schedule 2 of national Metal Mining Effluent Regulations, which would otherwise prohibit them from dumping "deleterious substances" in bodies of water.

When environmental legislation was changed to prohibit mining companies from using lakes as tailings ponds an exception was created for companies already doing so, said John Werring, a salmon conservation biologist with the David Suzuki Foundation's Marine and Fresh Water Conservation Program. Now new mining initiatives are trying to do the same thing, he said.

"It's absolutely outrageous that the government is even considering turning pristine lakes into tailings ponds, especially when everyone's being told you have an onset of global warming and the need to conserve water," he said.

Full text:
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Baird disses Maude,says he supports mine waste in lakes

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:22 pm

Baird disses Maude,says he supports mine waste in lakes

From: "Brent Patterson" <>
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 5:39 AM

Congratulations to the Council of Canadians team that challenged 'environment' minister John Baird last night on his government's policy of allowing mining companies to dump their toxic mining waste into freshwater lakes.

The Ottawa Citizen reports today that, "Conservative John Baird flashed his combative side at the final Ottawa West-Nepean all-candidates meeting Thursday night. The packed session at Woodroffe High School also featured placard-waving protesters from the Council of Canadians (and) an unscripted anti-Baird ditty by the Raging Grannies..."

The article continues, "Two questions dealt with mining companies dumping mine waste into northern lakes. When one person (from Mining Watch Canada) challenged Mr. Baird, who is minister of the environment, to stop the practice, he shot back: 'I'm not going to promise to change something I know we're not going to change.' That earned him a round of boos from environmentalists in the audience."

The article continues, "a woman who identified herself as a member of the Council of Canadians (water campaigner Meera Karunananthan), raised the issue again, saying the Conservatives were 'out of synch' with Canadians on the matter. She said she and other protesters had hoped to confront Mr. Baird when he arrived at the school for the meeting, but he had avoided them by going in a back door.

To cheers from supporters, Mr. Baird replied that the Tories 'were out of synch with Maude Barlow,' head of the Council of Canadians.

That was too much for NDP candidate Marlene Rivier. 'I can't let John Baird diss Maude Barlow,' she said, calling her a great Canadian who has championed the fight for national sovereignty.."

The full article can be read at

To read Meera's blog 'Minister Baird: Lakes should not be toxic dumpsites!', please go to

To respond (now more than ever) to our Action Alert: Freshwater lakes, not 'tailings impoundment areas', go to

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Project Guidelines - Star Diamond Project

Postby Oscar » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:50 am


These guidelines have been prepared by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment to assist Shore Gold with the environmental impact assessment of their proposed diamond mine and associated ancillary facilities.

Province of Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

Final Project-Specific Guidelines – Star-Orion South Diamond Project EAB#2008-089


The proposed Star-Orion South Diamond Project includes the excavation of an open pit at the Star Kimberlite and potentially, a second open pit at the Orion South Kimberlite, construction of processing facilities and construction of associated infrastructure to commercially extract diamonds from these kimberlites. The potential development site is located in the Fort à la Corne Provincial Forest (FalC) approximately 65 kilometres east of Prince Albert. The project footprint in the FalC is estimated to be 3,000 to 4,000 hectares (2.3 to 3.0% of the forest) in close proximity to the Saskatchewan River.

The Star Kimberlite portion is mainly owned by Shore Gold Inc. (Shore Gold); the Orion South Kimberlite and a small part of the Star Kimberlite known as “Star West” is owned by the Fort à la Corne Joint Venture (Shore Gold's wholly owned subsidiary Kensington Resources Inc. 60%, Newmont Mining Corporation of Canada Limited 40%). Shore Gold is the operator of both parts of the proposed project.

Shore Gold has been informed that the project will require an environmental assessment under The Environmental Assessment Act (Saskatchewan)(the EA Act). Shore Gold is required, pursuant to section 9 of the EA Act, to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and prepare and submit to the Minister of Environment an environmental impact statement (EIS) for technical and public review. These project-specific guidelines have been prepared to assist Shore Gold with the conduct of the environmental impact assessment and preparation of the environmental impact statement.

It should be noted that other kimberlites have been identified in the FalC. The mining of these kimberlites are not included in the Star-Orion South project as described in the November 2008 proposal. The mining of additional kimberlites outside the proposed pit boundaries for the Star-Orion South project would require future, and separate, applications for environmental assessment approval.

1.1 Requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment in Saskatchewan
In Saskatchewan, the proponent of a project that is considered to be a “development” pursuant to Section 2(d) of the EA Act is required to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the proposed project and prepare and submit an environmental impact statement to the Minister of Environment.

The Environmental Assessment Branch (EA Branch) of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment (“ministry”) conducted a technical review of Shore Gold’s project proposal including seeking comments on the proposal from provincial and federal ministries and agencies and First Nations and Métis communities. Based on the results of the technical review, the project met the definition of a “development”. As a consequence, Shore Gold is required to conduct an EIA of the project and submit an EIS to the Minister of Environment.

When the EIS is prepared and submitted, technical reviewers representing provincial and federal ministries and agencies, and First Nations and Métis communities will review the EIS. When satisfied that the EIS adequately describes the potential impacts of the development on the environment, the ministry prepares Technical Review Comments. These comments assist in the review of the EIS and evaluating the environmental acceptability of the project. The EIS and comments will be made available for inspection and comment prior to the Minister’s decision on the project. Notification of review period, locations, and contact information will occur through newspaper advertisement as well as direct correspondence (upon request).

Should the proposal to develop the diamond mine and associated ancillary facilities in the FalC be found to be environmentally acceptable by the Minister, Shore Gold would be required to apply to Saskatchewan regulatory agencies for the necessary approvals, permits and licenses that regulate construction and operation of the proposed development and to comply with all applicable provincial laws.

MORE: ... Guidelines
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Postby Oscar » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:33 pm


News Release - August 23, 2010

The Shore Gold Star-Orion South Diamond Mine project is a major development that has the potential to employ Saskatchewan people and generate considerable wealth for the province. An important part of the approval process is ensuring that First Nations and Métis communities have the necessary resources to fully participate in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.

Participation in the EA process will provide the communities with the opportunity to provide valuable input regarding any potential impacts the proposed development may have on Treaty and Aboriginal rights and traditional uses.

"This is an exciting project for all Saskatchewan people and I am pleased the province is able to provide financial support to the communities in order for their voices to be heard during this important Environmental Assessment process," Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations Ken Cheveldayoff said. "This will help ensure any development of the Star-Orion South Diamond mine proceeds with interests of the First Nations and Métis of Saskatchewan addressed."

The funds, totaling $673,000, are being provided to the Métis Nation - Saskatchewan Eastern Region II and Métis Nation - Saskatchewan Western Region II, James Smith Cree Nation and Muskoday First Nation. All the funds are coming from the Consultation Participation Fund of the Ministry of First Nations and Métis Relations.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our province to continue to build and diversify our economy," Cheveldayoff said. "It is critical that we meet our responsibility to review the environmental impact, including any impact on the rights of First Nations and Métis people." -30-

For more information, contact:

Bonny Braden, First Nations and Métis Relations
Phone: 306-787-5701
Cell: 306-530-2237
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Re: Star Diamond Project - Fort a la Corne, SK

Postby Oscar » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:39 am


[ ... amond-mine ]

Environment 18-2119 October 25, 2018

Today, Environment Minister Dustin Duncan announced approval for the Star-Orion South Diamond Mine Project under The Environmental Assessment Act. The Star Diamond Corporation can now proceed with the next steps of the project, which will be located approximately 65 kilometres east of Prince Albert in the Fort à la Corne Forest.

“The Star-Orion South Diamond Mine is a major development with the potential to bring jobs to the area and diversify Saskatchewan’s economy,” Duncan said. “The Government of Saskatchewan has an obligation to ensure that developments undergo comprehensive assessment and proceed with appropriate environmental safeguards in place. I am confident this project has met these requirements and the conditions of approval will mitigate environmental and community impacts.”

The diamond mine is expected to employ 700 people during full operation. When developed, the mine will contribute to the local and provincial economies through taxes, royalties and business opportunities.

The Ministry of Environment oversees Saskatchewan’s environmental assessment process, which includes a comprehensive cross-government review, as well as a public review period. The environmental assessment process focuses on the potential environmental impacts of a project and relies on professional and unbiased expertise to help reach objective and science-based conclusions. The public participation process provides the general public the opportunity to prepare and submit meaningful input so all views on a project are considered before a final decision is made.

The ministry conducted a thorough environmental assessment for the Star Diamond Mine project, including a detailed environmental impact statement, and carried out in-depth consultation prior to the decision to approve the project. This includes fulfilling the province’s duty to consult responsibility. The environmental assessment included a technical review by government experts as well as an extended 60-day public review period.

The Government of Saskatchewan consulted with local First Nations and Métis communities and has developed accommodations that will address potential adverse impacts to Treaty rights and traditional uses. These accommodations are part of 11 conditions of the project approval requiring Star Diamond to incorporate mitigation measures over the life of the project to address environmental and community impacts. 

These include:

• preparing a fish habitat compensation plan and monitoring the quality of the air, surface water and groundwater for the life of the project;

• involving James Smith Cree Nation in environmental monitoring programs for the project;

• providing funding to James Smith Cree Nation to support community participation in a stewardship committee, a community harvest support program and community cultural programs;

• providing funding for moose and elk population surveys;

• entering into an agreement to provide training, jobs and business opportunities for James Smith Cree Nation and other local communities; and

• preparing an access management plan for the Fort à la Corne Forest to facilitate use and/or protection of preferred areas for carrying out Treaty and Aboriginal rights and traditional uses.

In addition, unique to this project, a conservation area is being set aside elsewhere in the Fort á la Corne Forest to provide continued opportunity for the exercise of Treaty and Aboriginal rights.

Prior to proceeding with the project, Star Diamond will be required to obtain further provincial and municipal permits and approvals. These include a surface lease, an environmental protection plan, an aquatic habitat protection permit, a water rights licence and provincial highway access permits.

A copy of the Star-Orion South Diamond Mine Project decision can be found at [ ... =66&c=4428 ].

Further information on the environmental assessment process can be found at [ ].


For more information, contact:
Corey Rhiendel, Environment, Regina
Phone: 306-787-6595
Cell: 306-519-9078

[ ... amond-mine ]

Regulatory Process for the Star-Orion South Diamond Mine
Mineral Disposition and Exploration Phase
Environmental Assessment and Decision by Minister of Environment
Permitting and Licensing Phase
Provincial Approvals
Ministry of Environment
· a surface lease for the mine
· approval to construct, install, alter or extend a pollutant control facility
· approval to operate a pollutant control facility
· decommissioning and reclamation plan and financial assurance
· approval to construct and operate a hazardous substance and waste dangerous goods storage facility
· environmental protection plan for operation of an industrial source as per the Industrial Source
Air Quality Chapter of the Saskatchewan Environmental Code
· permit to operate waterworks intended for human consumption
· permit to operate sewage works
· aquatic habitat protection permit
Water Security Agency
· water rights licence
· approval to construct and operate surface/groundwater works (for the purpose of diverting or
using water)
· groundwater investigation permit
· aquatic habitat protection permit
Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure
· provincial highway access permits
Ministry of Government Relations
· subdivision approval
Monitoring and Reporting
· proponent conducts mining and periodic monitoring and reporting throughout life of project
· update decommissioning and reclamation plan for approval every five years
Decommissioning and Reclamation Phase
· approval to decommission and reclaim a pollutant control facility
· site enters into “transition phase monitoring”
· release from decommissioning and reclamation requirements (following the release the site can
enter the provincial Institutional Control Program)
Next Steps
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