MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Canadian miner sues its own government

Published by MAC on 2013-04-09
Source: Vancouver Sun, CBC News

Another wants to swim with tailings...

Canadain mining companies aren't just going after foreign governments to get their own way. See: Canadian companies threaten El Salvador and Costa Rica

Nor do they lack imagination - if of the crudest kind - when it comes to disposing of their wastes.

Pacific Booker Minerals is suing the British Colombian administration for its rejection of a proposed gold and copper mine.

And Aurchem Exploration wants to dump gold mill tailnigs into Yukon swimming pools .

Whatever next?

Mining firm sues government for rejecting project

Mike Hager

Vancouver Sun

5 April 2013

A mining company is suing the provincial government, alleging its open-pit gold and copper mine proposed for northern British Columbia was rejected last September by two senior ministers who either "acted unreasonably" or "abused their discretion" in the process.

In a petition filed Monday, Pacific Booker Minerals Inc. asked the B.C. Supreme Court to overturn Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman's rejection last September of its $2.5-billion mining project, located 65 km north of Smithers at Morrison Lake.

None of the allegations in the petition have been proven in court and the government has not yet filed a response.

Pacific Booker's Morrison Lake mine project had "undergone a thorough environmental assessment by provincial and federal environmental assessment agencies over an almost ten-year period," the petition claims. "Both the British Columbia and the federal environmental assessment agencies concluded that the Project is not likely to have an significant adverse effects."

The petition alleges that Coleman did not read the final report made by the environmental assessment office (EAO) or the ensuing recommendations by its executive director before denying the proposal, for a site bordering the 15-kilometre-long lake surrounded by Crown land. At the time, the ministers told media that the mine could affect sockeye salmon populations as well as water quality in the lake, and the long-term environmental risks outweighed the potential benefits to the province.

The mines ministry stated it had doubts about "the in-perpetuity environmental liabilities of the project (and) the unprecedented scale of the (financial) bond that would be required."

The company's petition alleged the EAO executive director's final recommendations to the ministers contained "misleading statements and assertions that, had they been raised in the environmental assessment process could have been explained or clarified."

Pacific Booker's petition alleged one such statement by the EAO's director is that Morrison Lake was at the headwaters of the salmon-rich Skeena River when it is "at the easternmost edge of the Skeena River watershed."

The company's petition alleged it spent about $30 million on the Morrison Lake proposal - its only project - and the rejection caused great harm to its revenue, share price and corporate reputation.

The company asked the court to award costs, quash the rejection of the project and force the ministers to reconsider the mine.

When contacted Thursday night, Environment Ministry spokesman David Karn directed The Sun to the ministers' original statements from last September.

Swimming pools proposed to store Yukon mine's tailings

Proposal for small gold project near Carmacks drawing criticism

CBC News

4 April 2013

A proposal by a gold mining company to use swimming pools as tailings ponds is raising some concern with the Yukon Government and the Yukon Conservation Society.

In an application for a water licence, Aurchem Exploration, which owns the claims at the old Mount Nansen site near Carmacks, proposes to use three to five aboveground swimming pools to store tailings from its milling operation.

Yukon Conservation Society mining co-ordinator Lewis Rifkind said he immediately thought of pools in the Canadian Tire flyer.

"You get it out of the newspaper every Friday, you sift through it. You know I very rarely buy anything, I just like looking at it, and that's what came to mind. These things do exist. I'm sure people are familiar with them; check out the Canadian Tire catalogue," he said.

Rifkind said swimming pools might work, but they're not tested for such uses. He said until Aurchem can show there are actual tests, the water board should not approve the idea.

Environment Yukon has filed similar concerns in its intervention.

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