Groups are reviewing the Sisson Brook mine environmental study and say that the scale of this project is hard to imagine. First, the project itself is an open pit tungsten and molybdenum mine that will create a pit 300-375 metres deep over 145 hectares. The tailings pond will cover 750 hectares.
Secondly, with the process itself, the public has only 45 days to respond to an environmental assessment report that took years to prepare and is over 5000 pages in length.
One issue of significant concern noted by one environmental group is the potential for widespread arsenic contamination due to the mining, storing and processing of the ore. As well, the closure plan for the mine includes draining the water from the tailings pond into the mine pit. While the study calls the former mine pit an "aquatic feature", the water in the pit will be contaminated with chemicals that have been used during the process to extract the ore.
People from St. Mary’s First Nations have held an event at the proposed site and Chief Candace Paul has vowed to “fight the proposed mine at all costs.” “We will have to do what we have to do. This is our traditional land," she said.
Other groups are preparing briefs to submit to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency before the October 14, 2013 deadline. All groups submitting comments are invited to send their submissions to the NBEN, where we will post them on line in our reference library.
Media article on the St. Mary’s protest
More information on the Sisson Brook assessment