Sisson project not a done deal — big risks to healthy water and communities have not been addressed, says Corbett

The Conservation Council’s Executive Director, Lois Corbett, is calling for caution and transparency after the federal government gave its approval of the proposed open-pit Sisson Mine near Stanley.

Corbett told CBC Radio’s Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, June 26 that many details surrounding the project — such as the specific design of the tailings dam needed to protect the Nashwaak watershed and surrounding communities from toxic mine waste, or who would pay for the costs of replacing drinking water and repairing stream habitat in the event of a leak or breach like we saw at Mt. Polley, B.C. — have yet to be made public. Northcliff Resources, the company behind the Sisson project, was given 40 conditions to meet during the provincial environmental assessment process last year, but has not yet provided evidence the conditions have been met.

“While ministers on Friday (June 23) were characterizing this sign-off by the federal cabinet as a green light, all things go (for the project), I would prefer to get people to see these conditions as the amber light: slow down, lets be sure, lets see some caution before we proceed,” Corbett said. “There are a lot of unknowns in the design papers for the mine.”

Corbett said there was talk at Friday’s announcement that the company had met all the conditions, but “I’ve yet to see any evidence of that. There’s not a spot on the website where you can go and download a detailed tailings dam design, for example. Perhaps the company has provided some material, so someone could check a box on a long list of conditions. I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and I would hope the government would let us all see soon, sooner as opposed to later,” she said.

Listen to the full interview with host Terry Seguin here.

For more coverage of CCNB on the Sisson Mine project, check out:

  • Corbett appeared in this June 23 Globe and Mail article, Major New Brunswick tungsten mine gets federal environmental approval.
  • Corbett called for greater transparency from the provincial government in this CBC article published Friday,  June 23, saying “this project is a long way from being complete — a piece of paper from a federal minister saying approval is granted, with no details, doesn’t give me much confidence.”
  • The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal reported on concerns raised by Corbett and Taymouth Environmental Action’s Jim Emberger about the risks to drinking water, river habitat, and nearby communities.
  • Corbett questioned the logic behind risking drinking water for a limited number of unsustainable jobs in this Canadian Press story, saying “I remain to be convinced that those jobs created over the life of the project are equal in weight to the risk to the water.” The story was shared by Global News, CTV, the Globe & Mail, The Financial Post, Metro News, BNN, Nanaimo News, the Red Deer Advocate,105.3 the Fox, 104.9 and K93.
  • Corbett commented on the environmental risks of the project in stories by L’Acadie Nouvelle and L’actualite.

For more information on the Conservation Council’s concerns about the Sisson Mine, see: