MAC/20: Mines and Communities

United front damns Quebec's biggest proposed open-pit mine

Published by MAC on 2009-09-22

Many organisations have joined a campaign to prevent "development" of what would be Quebec's biggest-ever open-pit mine. Virtually every aspect of the project has been called into strong question.

The leader of Canada's Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation has also promised to "take every means necessary" to halt the project. But he also says that his people are prepared to discuss taking their own stake in the mine.

One of the world's largest gold producers, Goldcorp, now controls over 12% of the operating company's share capital.


Approval of Osisko's massive open pit mine - a dangerous precedent for Quebec

Press Release

The Coalition Pour Que Quebec Ait Meilleure Mine [Coalition for Better Mining in Quebec]

24 August 2009

[trouvez la version francaise ci-dessous]

Quebec - The approval of the massive open pit gold mine proposed by Osisko Mining Corporation is a dangerous precedent for all the mining regions of Quebec. The Coalition Pour Que Quebec Ait Meilleure Mine believes that this project, the largest of its kind to see the light of day in Quebec, is being approved without sufficient guarantees for the protection of ground water, for the restoration of the pit or for financial benefits to the local area and the province. Before the threat of this type of project spreads, the coalition is calling for an independent commission on mineral development that would guide the development of a mineral policy that is not for the sole benefit of the industry.

According to Christian Simard of Nature Quebec, "It's Quebec as a whole that is affected by this type of massive and intensive exploitation of environmental, energy and human resources. Alternatives exist, and we must decide what kind of mineral exploitation we want to have in Quebec."

In less than 10 years, Osisko proposes to excavate 525-million tonnes of rock to extract a volume of gold the size of a Smart Car! Each day 25-million liters of water, 11 tonnes of cyanide, and 30 tonnes of other chemical products will be necessary to exploit the ore body.

Major Gaps

According to Ugo Lapointe, from the Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement, "The approval doesn't contain a single specification for the restoration of the open pit, nor for revenue sharing with the local region to compensate for the loss of this non-renewable resource and to insure future economic development of the town and region.

It's also not clear who would be responsible, Quebec tax payers or the company, should the groundwater become contaminated." Quebec's public consultation office or "BAPE" also expressed concerns about the potential for groundwater contamination and and asked for clarifications on this issue; of particular concern was potential for cyanide contamination.

Royalties for Quebec and the local area

The Coalition's position is that all mining projects should pay a minimum of 2 % to 5 % of gross revenues in royalties, and contribute an additional royalty of up to 15% on profit, depending on the price of metals and of the value added in the region. The Quebec Auditor General's report, released last April, showed that Quebec only received 1.3 % royalties on gross mining revenues between 2002 and 2008. This was in the middle of a boom in the industry that saw companies making record profits.

Will the hole be filled post-exploitation?

For Henri Jacob of Action Boreale Abitbi Temiscamingue "The project is too important to have crucial questions like the restoration of the pit swept under the rug. These issues will have consequences on the land for generations to come." The Coalition is calling for the immedieate development and analysis of detailled scenarios for the restoration of the pit. During the public hearings on the project the Coalition called for the pit to be back-filled with the mining wastes once the exploitation of the deposit is over.

Some conditions

The Coalition acknowledges some positive elements of the approval. First of all, it confirms that Osisko, not the taxpayers will be responsible for the liability of the huge "finishing pond", an artificial lake more than 2 km long that will be created beside the pit in order to hold the water from the site. Secondly, the company will have to provide financial guarantees for the amounts necessary to close and remediate the site (not including restoration of the pit nor the potential need to remediate groundwater contamination), to complete a new neighbourhood for displaced residents, and for providing potable water to the town of Malartic. The company must provide 100% financial guarantee instead of the usual 70%, currently required by law.

The Coalition continues to call for an independent commission (along the lines of the Coulombe Commission on Forestry) to inform a profound reform of the Mining Act.


For more information :

• Henri Jacob, Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 819-738-5261 or 819-825-1466 #252, lereve@cablevision.qc.ca

Ugo Lapointe, Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement, 514.708.0134, ugolapi@yahoo.com

Christian Simard, Nature Québec, 418-931-1131, christian.simard@naturequebec.org

The Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine! was founded in the spring of 2008 and today has more than a dozen member organizations that represent thousands of individual members in Quebec. The mission of the Coalition is to review how mining operates in Queubec in order to promote the best possible environmental and social practices. Engaging in constructive dialogue with different stakeholders of Quebec's mining sector is an essential part of the coalition's approach.

Members of the Coalition include: Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue (ABAT) ▪ Association de protection de l'environnement des Hautes-Laurentides (APEHL) ▪ Coalition de l'ouest du Québec contre l'exploitation de l'uranium (COQEU) ▪ Comité vigilance Malartic (projet minier Osisko) ▪ Conseil central de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) en Abitibi-Témiscamingue et Nord-du-Québec ▪ Écojustice ▪ Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement de l'UQAM ▪ MiningWatch Canada ▪ Mouvement Vert Mauricie ▪ Nature Québec ▪ Professionnels de la santé pour la survie mondiale ▪ Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire ▪ Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE) ▪ Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada - SNAP-Québec ▪ New members are welcome to join us.

____________________________

En Francais:

Communiqué - Pour diffusion immédiate

Approbation de la méga mine à ciel ouvert Osisko
Un dangereux précédent pour le Québec

Québec, 24 août 2009. Le décret d'approbation du projet de méga mine d'or à ciel ouvert de la compagnie Osisko crée un dangereux précédent pour toutes les régions minières du Québec. De l'avis de la coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine! il s'agira de la plus grande mine d'or à ciel ouvert à forts impacts environnementaux à voir le jour au Québec et ce, sans garantie suffisante quant à la contamination des eaux souterraines, à la restauration complète de la fosse, ni même au niveau des redevances que retireront la région et le Québec de l'exploitation de cette ressource non renouvelable. Devant la menace que ce type de projets prolifère à court terme, la coalition réclame la tenue d'une commission indépendante sur le développement minier au Québec jetant les bases d'une véritable politique minière qui ne sera plus assujettie aux seuls intérêts miniers.

Selon Christian Simard de Nature Québec, « C'est l'ensemble du Québec qui est concerné par ce type d'exploitation extrêmement intensif au plan environnemental, énergétique et humain. Des alternatives existent, mais imposent des choix de société quant au type d'exploitation minière que nous souhaitons avoir au Québec. »
Rappelons que la compagnie Osisko excavera, en moins de 10 ans, 525 millions de tonnes de roches pour obtenir un volume d'or équivalent à celui d'une voiture de type Smart. Chaque jour, 25 millions de litres d'eau, 11 tonnes de cyanure et 30 tonnes de produits chimiques seront nécessaires pour l'exploitation de cette ressource.

Lacunes majeures

Selon Ugo Lapointe du Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement, « Dans le décret, il n'y a aucune spécification précise quant à la restauration du trou, ni au partage des revenus avec la collectivité et la région pour compenser la perte de cette ressource non renouvelable et assurer de meilleurs lendemains économiques à la ville et à la région. Il n'est pas clair non plus de qui des contribuables ou de la compagnie Osisko sera responsable d'une éventuelle contamination des eaux souterraines. » À noter que ce dernier point était également une préoccupation du BAPE qui demandait des clarifications à cet égard, en particulier en ce qui a trait aux possibles exfiltrations souterraines de cyanure.

Redevances pour le Québec et la région

La coalition est d'avis que tout projet minier doit partager un minimum de 2 % à 5 % des revenus bruts générés, combinés à une redevance additionnelle pouvant aller jusqu'à 15 % sur les profits selon les prix des métaux et la valeur ajoutée en région. Le rapport du Vérificateur général révélait en avril dernier que le Québec a retiré à peine 1,3 % de redevances sur les revenus bruts entre 2002 et 2008, soit en plein boom minier et au moment où les entreprises généraient des revenus records.

Le trou sera-t-il rempli après exploitation?

Pour Henri Jacob de l'Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue, « Ce projet est d'une envergure beaucoup trop importante pour balayer sous le tapis cette question cruciale de restauration du trou qui aura des conséquences sur le territoire pour des générations à venir. » La coalition est d'avis que des scénarios détaillés doivent être proposés et analysés dans les plus brefs délais pour la restauration du trou, dont celui évoqué par Osisko lors des audiences publiques de remblayer tous ses résidus en plus des anciens résidus abandonnés par ses prédécesseurs dans le trou une fois les opérations terminées.

Quelques bémols

La coalition relève néanmoins quelques points positifs dans le décret. Premièrement, il confirme que ce sera Osisko, et non les contribuables, qui sera responsable du gigantesque bassin de polissage, un lac artificiel de plus de 2 km de long qui sera créé à côté de la fosse pour retenir (à l'aide de digues) les eaux du site et de procédé industriel. Deuxièmement, le promoteur devra également fournir les garanties financières nécessaires pour la restauration et la fermeture du site (cela n'inclut pas le remplissage du trou, ni une éventuelle contamination des eaux souterraines), terminer l'aménagement du nouveau quartier Nord et assurer l'approvisionnement en eau potable de la ville de Malartic. Osisko devra s'engager à déposer 100 % de la garantie financière prévue, au lieu de 70 %, comme la loi l'exige actuellement.

La coalition réitère avec force sa demande de la tenue d'une commission indépendante (du type de la commission Coulombe sur la forêt) permettant une réforme en profondeur de laLoi sur les mines.

Pour information :

• Henri Jacob, Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 819-738-5261 ou 819-825-1466 #252, lereve@cablevision.qc.ca
• Ugo Lapointe, Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement, 514.708.0134, ugolapi@yahoo.com
• Christian Simard, Nature Québec, 418-931-1131, christian.simard@naturequebec.org

La coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine! a vu le jour au printemps 2008 et est aujourd'hui constituée de plus d'une douzaine d'organismes représentant plusieurs milliers de membres au Québec. La coalition s'est donnée pour mission de revoir la façon dont on encadre et développe le secteur minier au Québec, dans le but de promouvoir de meilleures pratiques aux plans social et environnemental. La coalition juge essentiel d'engager et de maintenir un dialogue constructif avec les différents intervenants du secteur minier québécois, le gouvernement du Québec, de même qu'avec les communautés et les citoyens qui sont directement affectés.

Les membres actuels de la coalition : Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue (ABAT) ▪ Association de protection de l'environnement des Hautes-Laurentides (APEHL) ▪ Coalition de l'ouest du Québec contre l'exploitation de l'uranium (COQEU) ▪ Comité vigilance Malartic (projet minier Osisko) ▪ Conseil central de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) en Abitibi-Témiscamingue et Nord-du-Québec ▪ Écojustice ▪ Forum de l'Institut des sciences de l'environnement de l'UQAM ▪ MiningWatch Canada ▪ Mouvement Vert Mauricie ▪ Nature Québec ▪ Professionnels de la santé pour la survie mondiale ▪ Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire ▪ Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE) ▪ Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada - SNAP-Québec ▪ Tous nouveaux membres sont les bienvenus.


First Nation moves to Halt Osisko

National Post

1 September 2009

[Chief Giuseppe Valiante, Financial Post, with files from Peter Koven]

The head of a Quebec First Nation's council says the planned construction of an open-pit gold mine by Osisko Mining Corp. in the province's Abitibi-Temiscamingue region breaches his people's ancestral land rights and is seeking legal action to halt the project unless his group is offered a stake in the venture.

Grand Chief Lucien Wabanonik of the Tribal Council of the Algonquin Nation Anishinabeg, said yesterday the council wasn't properly consulted before the Quebec government last month approved the completion of the mine in Malartic, about 550 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The council announced at a press conference in Val-d'Or, Que., that it will take "every means necessary to ensure that this project cannot proceed until the rights of the Algonquin people on these lands are respected."

Osisko has invested almost $1-billion to develop the 6.3-million ounce mine, the country's largest unmined gold deposit. The project is scheduled to take 18 months and be completed by the second quarter of 2011.

Mr. Wabanonik said his council doesn't have a dollar amount that it is requesting from the company, but is looking for "discussions with content" on the project and wants to form a partnership with Osisko.

He added his council also has environmental concerns about the large amount of water that will be needed during the extracting process, that he fears will drain the region's rivers.

"This is our ancestral land. We've never ceded any part of it," Mr. Wabanonik said in a telephone interview. "We want an agreement that is a lot more interesting than what was initially offered than simple minor proposals."

Osisko said in a recent statement that the project, construction of which should begin shortly, will create 800 direct jobs, and then 465 permanent jobs over the planned 10-year life of the mine and the "large majority" of workers will come from Malartic and the surrounding region. The project also includes moving the entire town of Malartic before work begins.

Osisko has a market value of nearly $1.85-billion, and its stock has been climbing steadily since it bottomed last fall at $1.40 in the middle of the credit crisis.

The company also received $403-million financing needed to develop the Malartic deposit project. In mid-August, Vancouver-based Goldcorp bought almost 8.5 million of Osisko's common shares and 4.3 million of its share purchase warrants, equaling about a 4.8 % stake in the company and bringing Goldcorp's total to 12.9 %, or 33.8 million shares of Osisko.

Officials of Osisko could not be reached for comment.

 


Quebec gov't greenlights Osisko's Canadian Malartic

Northern Miner

20 August 2009

Osisko Mining (OSK-T) has jumped another big hurdle in the rapid development of its $1-billion Canadian Malartic gold project in Malartic, Que, with the provincial government today approving an order in council authorizing the completion of the mine.

Osisko says construction work on the mine and mill will begin shortly, as soon as the formal authorization certificates are issued.

The construction work is slated to take 18 months, with the mine and mill due to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2011. The mine is set to produce 500,000 to 650,000 oz. per year, chewing up 55,000 tonnes of ore per day.

Mine construction will create about 800 direct jobs, while there will be 465 permanent direct jobs during the currently envisaged 10-year mine life.

It's already been a remarkable summer for Osisko, with the junior entering into a $149.5-million bought-deal financing on Aug. 12 with brokers Thomas Weisel Partners Canada and BMO Capital Markets. Assuming an over-allotment option is exercised, the two will pick up 21.26 million shares at $7 apiece.

A couple of days earlier, potential suitor Goldcorp announced it had bought in the open market 8,462,500 Osisko shares and 4,271,500 warrants with each warrant exercisable for one Osisko share for $5.45 per share until Nov. 17, 2009.

Goldcorp now beneficially owns or controls 33.8 million Osisko shares (12.9% of the outstanding shares) plus 4.3 million warrants.

And that's not all: in early July, Osisko struck a deal with the provincially owned Societe generale de financement du Quebec for a $75-million convertible-debenture financing.

The debentures would carry an interest rate of 7.5% and be convertible at $9.18 per share. The twist on the SGF financing is that it requires an additional $225 million in financing - which will be in large part fulfilled with the closing of last week's $149.5-million bought deal.

Plus, in June, Osisko closed $10.6 million in flow-through financing by placing 1.2 million shares at $8.75 per share.

Osisko's biggest financing closed in February, with the company raising $403 million. The company issued 88.55 units with a single unit comprised of a share and half a warrant, with a full warrant exercisable into a share at $5.45 until Nov. 17, 2009.

These well-in-the-money warrants will most likely bring another $241 million into the Osisko treasury when exercised in the fall.

At the moment, not counting the hundreds of millions of dollars yet to flow in, Osisko's treasury stands at $400 million with no debt.

Osisko's shares responded well to today's go-ahead from the provincial government, rising 24 cents to $7.28 and re-approaching the all-time high of $7.70 which was struck immediately after the $149.5-million bought deal was announced.

Home | About Us | Companies | Countries | Minerals | Contact Us
© Mines and Communities 2013. Web site by Zippy Info