MAC: Mines and Communities

Canada: Madoc mine faces numerous environmental charges

Published by MAC on 2008-12-30
Source: Jeremy Ashley, Belleville Intelligencer

MADOC - One of North America's oldest mining operations is facing a number of environmental charges, including three counts of lying to Ministry of Environment officials regarding discharges pumped into area river systems.

Six environmental charges were laid against two parent companies and the former manager of the Canada Talc mine that operates just outside this Centre Hastings town.

The charges were sworn against Highwood Resources Ltd., Sherritt International and the company's employee Elvis Regular under the Ontario Water Resource Act and the Environmental Protection Act on Nov. 4.

"The charges relate to improper sampling of mine dewatering discharge and providing false or misleading information to the ministry," said Ministry of Environment spokeswoman Kate Jordan.

In most underground mining operations, a system is in set up to pump water out of the ground where mining is taking place. Under current provincial environmental guidelines, that water must be treated before being pumped back into natural waterways above ground.

According to court documents, environmental investigators allege that several times between 2001 and 2006 the Canada Talc mine's dewatering system breached those regulations while water discharge was pumped directly into Moira Lake and the nearby natural environment, and falsified records to cover up the discrepancy when checked by ministry officials.

Sherritt International Corporation is a natural resource company that produces nickel, cobalt, thermal coal, oil, gas and electricity and has combined assets of close to $9 billion.

Highwood Resources Ltd. has mining and processing facilities in North America and southeast Asia and markets barite, silica, gypsum, talc, dolomite and zeolite products worldwide.

Locally, both organizations not only run the Madoc operation at 166 Talc Mine Road - which was first established as a mine in 1896 - but also have offices and a treatment facility located on the grounds of the former Marmoraton mines, in nearby Marmora.

The case will next appear before Belleville's Provincial Offences Act court on Feb. 24.

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