MAC: Mines and Communities

Opposed To Area Uranium Mine - Protesters Close Hwy. 7

Published by MAC on 2007-07-08
Source: Sun Media

Opposed to area uranium mine - Protesters close Hwy. 7

8th July 2007


Police closed a busy stretch of Highway 7 near Sharbot Lake Sunday, as protesters from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nations marched against a proposed uranium mine in the area.

Nearly 300 protesters, native and non-native, joined the rally against the planned development of a large open-pit mine on Robertsville Road, 100 km north of Kingston.

Sharbot Lake O.P.P. Const. Paige Whiting said the protest was “extremely peaceful” and major traffic headaches for returning weekend cottagers were avoided.

“We were simply there to ensure peace and for traffic control issues, but it went very well,” said Whiting.

“We obviously recognize the inherent right of citizens of Ontario to engage in lawful protest demonstrations, so when this kind of thing occurs we certainly have to err on the side of safety.”

Police rerouted traffic along detours during the hour-long demonstration.

The march was part of an ongoing protest at the proposed site of an open-pit uranium mine north of Sharbot Lake.

Frontenac Ventures, a uranium exploration company based in Sutton, Ont. owns claims to more than 8,000 hectares of land across the county, and announced plans on the company website to commence “an aggressive exploration and development program” in North Frontenac Township.

A statement on the website identified two properties with “potential for an open-pit operation.”

On June 28, native protesters blocked the entrance to the Robertsville site, setting up barricades to coincide with the June 29 National Day of Action.

Protest organizers say the land was never surrendered by the Ardoch Algonquins and the property is still rightfully theirs.

Last month, they sent a letter to Frontenac Ventures warning the company of the impending protest and requesting that they cease operations and leave the land.

Besides the ownership dispute, protesters are concerned over the health and environmental impact of a proposed uranium mine in their back yard.

There are fears that drilling will mobilize sedimentary uranium, spilling radioactive byproducts and waste into the groundwater and watershed, which flows into the Ottawa River system.

“Everything has been peaceful so far but we certainly have deployed police officers in strategic locations just to meet operational needs in the event a situation arose,” said Whiting.

“We’re definitely working to keep the lines of communication open between all the people and groups involved.”

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