MAC: Mines and Communities

Oka: A Paper Mines: Mining Quebec Treasure

Published by MAC on 2007-11-26

Oka: A Paper Mines: Mining Quebec Treasure

26th November 2007

After 12 years of talking and two BAPE hearings: It's time for the farce to stop

Quebec Coalition for Responsible Water Management - Eau Secours!


26th November 2007.

The Quebec Coalition for Responsible Water Management- Eau Secours! and the Oka Citizens Committee demand that the Minister of the Environment put an end to ten years of pressure tactics from the company promoting the niobium mine at Oka, and, once and for all, say "no" to the company's demands for a pollution permit.


Ten years ago, the citizens of Oka showed their disagreement with the development of a niobium mine on the lands of one of the most beautiful gardens in Quebec. Their early concerns were concretized with a 62% "no" vote.

Despite this clear rejection, the Mayor of Oka chose to ignore it, and the mine promoter continued to push his project. In this David and Golaith combat, for twelve years, the Oka Citizens Committee has not ceased to question the project and demand full and independent environmental studies.

It has also sensitized different intervenors to the adverse consequences of the project, not only to the environment, but also for the future economy, especially for agro-tourism, for Oka and the region.

Tax Deductions

Hundreds of investors have placed millions of dollars in the project in the past decade. Because of government programs, these investments were used as income tax deductions. Is this mine really only an income tax deduction for investors?

The Auditor-General will be asked to examine this question in the near future, and will have to respond.

Studies "A gogo"

To this day, no complete and independent study has been made of the totality of the project. Only the facts provided by the promoter have been used by public servants in the Ministry of the Environment, and have served as the basis for the two BAPE reviews that the Minister of the Environment required.

Recently, the Minister demanded a new report from the mining company, carried out by Golder Associates. The Eau Secours! Coalition has studied the report in detail. In good faith, the study shows us that, if the mine had opened and operated according to the rules in the earlier studies, the citizens would be living in a polluted environment.

The right to say "no"

The refusal of the Oka population to welcome this mining project in to its high-level agro-touristic region has been endorsed by many local, regional and national intervenors. Support for the right of the Oka citizens to say "no to the mine" has come from the Agricultural Producers of Oka and St-Joseph-du-lac, from the indigenous community at Kanesatake, from citizens groups in the region, local unions, MiningWatch Canada, SNAP and Eau Secours!

For several weeks, Eau Secours! and the Oka Citizens Committee have been distributing a flyer which pulls together all the facts for the Oka citizens, the Cabinet and several members of the Opposition.

It is time to listen to the citizens. The more we prospect, the more we dig into this mining project, the more layers of questions we find that have no answers. After more than a dozen years, the promoter has still not succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt, the harmlessness of this mine for the environment and the quality of life in Oka and it surrounds. For all these reasons, we believe that the niobium mining project must be abandoned. Faced with a refusal by the promoter to abandon the project and go away, we demand that the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks either undertake a complete and independent environmental assessment on all aspects of this mining project, including its cumulative impacts, or - simply- turn the project down.

Quebec Coalition for Responsible Water Management - Eau Secours!
Post Office Box 55036, CSP Fairmount, Montreal QC H2T 3E2
Telephone 514-270-7915


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