Conservation Council responds to provincial approval of Sisson Mine EIA

 

FREDERICTON — Stephanie Merrill, Director of Freshwater Protection with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Environment’s approval of the Sisson Mine Environmental Impact Assessment:

“I’m surprised by today’s announcement considering it’s been made in a vacuum. Final approval of this project is a joint process between the provincial and federal government — but we’re still waiting on the review from the feds, and there are outstanding parts of that review that we’re committed to participating in.

The province also has not released the summary of the Independent Review Panel to the public, as it’s required to do by law. The summary needs to be released right away for the sake of transparency, otherwise our government is playing fast and loose with the rules that let people participate in this process.

The company behind the mine proposal, Sisson Mines Ltd, is still far from securing the financing needed to move forward with the project, and no public financing accounts have been released. At best, today’s announcement is a signal that the province is open to business, but in reality, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

The conditions of approval are vague when it comes to critical issues like emergency planning, the security of the tailings dam, and liability. Most striking, we’re letting the fox guard the henhouse by leaving the responsibility to protect the Nashwaak River and watershed directly in the hands of the company. Even the International Council on Mining —  composed of the world’s largest companies — said yesterday that the control standards for tailing facilities are inadequate and the council would be reviewing and revising its standards.

We’ve seen at least three major tailings disasters in the past year and a half — at Mount Polley in B.C., the Buenavista del Cobre mine in Mexico, and most recently in Brazil,  where 16 people died and the Brazilian government announced yesterday a $5.2 (billion) USD billion lawsuit against the company responsible.

First and foremost at this point, we call on the province to release the summary report of the Independent Review Panel so New Brunswickers know what the experts in the scientific community have to say about this project proposal.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: 458-8747 | 261-1353 | jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca

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