FORTUNE: SES outlines serious concerns . . .

FORTUNE: SES outlines serious concerns . . .

Postby Oscar » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:50 pm

Saskatchewan Environmental Society outlines serious concerns about Fortune Minerals project

[ https://fortunemineralsconcern.wordpres ... s-project/ [

By Clean Water on September 9, 2018

In the article (reprinted below) published in the Clarks Crossing Gazette on September 6, 2018, [ ... _Part1.pdf ], the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) outlines serious concerns about the proposed Fortune Minerals project, and urges Corman Park residents to express their own opinions to the RM and in public hearings on rezoning when they occur.

The concerns SES mentions in the article include:

◾the huge amount of electricity FM wants to use for the processing plant, and that it expects to pay half-price compared with what farmers and other residents pay
◾155,000 tonnes of hazardous waste produced annually, left behind forever
◾over 10,000 tonnes of disease-causing arsenic waste generated annually for 18 to 25 years
◾microbial action over time will make arsenic waste more dangerous and more mobile
◾risks of spreading air-borne arsenic dust due to more frequent severe weather events
◾FM has no adequate plan for long-term monitoring of waste pits
◾provincial approval of FM project without any plan or cost projection for decommissioning after plant closure
◾impacts on neighbours and future generations
◾future health and financial liabilities for the Province, RM or municipality

= = = = =

Proposed processing plant poses risks for Langham area

[ ... _Part1.pdf ]

Saskatchewan Environmental Society

Fortune Minerals Ltd (FML) is proposing to build a metals processing plant 2.5 km east of Langham, SK. For this to happen, the RM of Corman Park would have to rezone 91 hectares from agricultural land to rural industrial land.

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) has consistently expressed serious concerns about FML’s proposal.

A summary of SES’s concerns is given below. FML would ship its ore containing cobalt, gold, bismuth, and copper by train from the Northwest Territories. Why ship the ore all that way? Part of the reason is that Fortune Minerals wants a location where they would pay a very low electrical rate for the huge amount of electricity they will need to run the processing plant. FML would pay SaskPower only about half of what Saskatchewan homeowners and farmers pay for their electricity per kilowatt-hour.

The Metals Processing Plant will generate at least 155,000 tonnes of hazardous waste each year, and approximately 7% of that waste by weight will be arsenic. That means that FML’s plant will generate over 10,000 tonnes of arsenic for each of the 18 -25 years that the plant is expected to operate. All of this waste material will be placed in permanent storage pits on the FML property near Langham. The pits will be 5 metres deep and lined with industrial plastic layers and closed off with geotex fabric and compressed soil. The important question is: Will these storage pits safely contain the arsenic and other waste chemicals for centuries?

An FML spokesman tells us that much of the waste material will be scorodite, a rock crystalline material that contains arsenic in a chemically safe form. But arsenic is a chemical element; it does not decompose; it will be there forever. Furthermore, chemical reactions and microbial bacterial reactions can change arsenic from a safe to a highly toxic and soluble form. In the view of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, there is a significant risk these chemical reactions could occur in the FML storage pits, meaning the arsenic is likely to become more dangerous and perhaps more mobile over time.

Joshua Hamilton, a Dartmouth College molecular toxicologist, recently reported that chronic exposure to very low doses of toxic arsenic increases the body’s vulnerability to a wide array of sicknesses, including lung and bladder cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In 2001 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reduced the acceptable limit of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion—that is equivalent to one drop of arsenic in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. SES worries that over long periods of time small doses of arsenic could leak out of the storage pits and enter the ground water and ultimately the Dalmeny Aquifer and the North Saskatchewan River. Furthermore, with our increased frequency of severe weather events, if the covers to the pits are damaged, could arsenic-laden dust be spread in the surrounding area, perhaps as far away as Saskatoon? This danger has not been carefully researched.

Despite receiving over 200 submissions expressing concerns from residents of Langham, Dalmeny, Saskatoon and other parts of the province, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment gave approval to FML’s proposal in February of 2014. FML achieved this approval without having presented a plan for how the plant will be decommissioned or what the cost of decommissioning will be. Nor has FML presented adequate plans for long-term monitoring of the storage pits, for evidence of hazardous wastes moving into new areas. These are serious oversights that may leave the Province, RM or municipality with future health and financial liabilities.

The Fortune Minerals project is expected to generate only 91 jobs during its 18-25 year operating life. Meanwhile the waste residue left behind will be hazardous for thousands of years. SES believes that there is no benefit here for our children or future generations. Furthermore, who will want to live adjacent to an area that is contaminated with this much arsenic and other toxic chemicals?

Rezoning FML’s lands to rural industrial uses is a very important decision. We encourage all interested citizens to write and express their opinions about the FML proposal to the RM of Corman Park as well as to attend and participate in the upcoming public hearing. When the public hearing is set, its date will be announced on www.

= = = =

Past SES statements about Fortune Minerals:
[ ... eb2014.pdf ]
February 2014 – Press release: Misfortune for Saskatchewan “The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) is deeply concerned that the Government of Saskatchewan saw fit to approve the Fortune Minerals Metal Processing Plant near Langham yesterday, despite receiving more than 200 submissions of concern from residents of Langham, Dalmeny, the RM of Corman Park, and Saskatoon. “By approving the project, it is clear that minimal, short term, economic benefits have been allowed to trump public safety and protection of our drinking water resources,” said Ann Coxworth, SES Board Member. “That is not acceptable.”
Read the full release: [ ... eb2014.pdf ]

= = = = =

December 2013 – Press Release: A Questionable Fortune for Langham
[ ... elease.pdf ]
“Sodium cyanide is banned in several jurisdictions, including Montana, and arsenic is a carcinogen that is hazardous to public health in concentrations as low as ten parts per billion,” says Peter Prebble, SES Director of Environmental Policy. “The use of these chemicals on the proposed site, and the plans to dispose of arsenic laced waste, will pose a long term safety concern for local residents, and for those who move into the area in the future, as the population of the Saskatoon region expands.”
Read the full release: [ ... elease.pdf ]

= = = =

December 2013 – Fortune Minerals Submission to Sask Minister of Environment
[ ... ission.pdf ]
“The Saskatchewan Environmental Society has carefully reviewed the Environmental Impact Study and urges the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment to turn down this application from Fortune Minerals. In our judgment, the costs and risks associated with this project clearly outweigh the benefits. There are several serious deficiencies in the EIS. Moreover, the project is not at all well suited to development in an area of our province that will be steadily urbanizing over the next 40 years. Our organization has numerous concerns about this project, on which we elaborate in this submission.

The following issues are discussed:

1. Use of Toxic Sodium Cyanide
2. Process Residue Wastes
3. Failure to Adequately Plan for Future Intense Precipitation Events
4. Deep Well Injection Plans
5. Water Consumption
6. Inadequate Plant Decommissioning Plan
7. Hazardous Materials and the Risk of Accidents
8. Solvent Extraction Fire Hazard
9. Inadequate Level of Confidence Expressed by Fortune Minerals Consultants
10. Subsidized Electrical Rates
11. Minimal Employment Benefit for the Risks to be Taken and the Projected Costs
12. Record of Fortune Minerals Elsewhere in Canada” Read the full submission
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