MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Letter to Telegraph-Journal

Published by MAC on 2007-07-23

Letter to Telegraph-Journal

Property rights should trump mineral claims

23th July 2007

We recently attended a mineral claims information session which was held by the Village of Cambridge Narrows.

I was amazed to learn that the Province owns the mineral rights of all land in New Brunswick and that anybody who is a licensed prospector can stake Crown as well as private property, which gives them the right to trespass on the property if they wish to observe it, then later to negotiate drilling on it. If the property is a woodlot or undeveloped, the prospector can drill on it without even having permission. If there is an issue of negotiating a price for any damage or drilling, then an arbitrator settles it.

It is difficult to comprehend that the Province has permitted mining companies' rights to overshadow the rights of tax-paying individuals. The area of Cambridge Narrows is predominately a resort region. Many people living there are, in fact, paying double the taxes on their properties because it is their second property.

Drilling for uranium releases argon, which is a radioactive material with contaminating effects on the watershed and the environment. British Columbia and Nova Scotia have outlawed the exploration and mining of uranium.

It is time that the government review the Mining Act and update it to reflect the current conditions of society, where environment is an important issue and private owners' rights to enjoy their property should play a paramount role over mining companies, which strip the land of its minerals and move away.

S. R. BRYNIAK, MD, FRCS(C)

Saint John

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