MAC: Mines and Communities

Us-canada Update

Published by MAC on 2007-03-17

US-Canada update

17th March 2007

A significant victory has been won by opponents of the plan by US company, Coeur d'Alene, to dump toxic tailings into a freshwater lake.

A federal court ruling last Friday should (if there were logic or justice) now have repercussions on both the Pebble Mine project in southwest Alaska and the use of pristine lakes for mine waste disposal in Canada.

[see: ]

As we reported last month, Rio Tinto recently acquired nearly 20% of the equity in Northern Dynasty - "owner" of the mine Pebble project - and has earmarked it as one of it's key new "development" projects for the coming year .

Pollution flows in both directions between Canada and the US. Last year Teck Cominco was found guility of massive cross-border pollution, thanks to protests in the US. This week a US company was charged with causing methylmercury contamination of Canadian waterways.

Meanwhile, MiningWatch Canada has protested at the possible damaging consequences of allowing nickel sulphide ores to be shipped from Michigan to Canada, if Rio Tinto/ Kennecott's controversial (and currently stalled) Eagle Mine is allowed to proceed.

Earlier this month we reported on MAC that Rio Tinto/Kennecott's plans to open a nickel-copper mine in Michigan had been set back when "irregularities" (if not criminal deception) were discovered in the state's procedure for assessing the environmental impact of the proposed operation.

We also cited evidence from a recent report by EarthWorks that the company's previous mine in the region, situated at Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, had alarmingly exceeded water polution standards in the case of several toxic heavy metals. [see:]

Now Rio Tinto has applied to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a "certificate of completion" (COC) confirming it has met the reclamation standards at the Flambeau mine, despite compelling evidence that it hasn't.

Citizens living in the area are now calling for denial of what, they believe, would be a mandate - not only to proceed with the Michigan mine, but also overturn Wisconsin's unique and hardwon regulations which have effectively banned the impositon of sulphide-based mining in the state.

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