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  • Malartic and Teck Frontier Mines

    Posted on March 1st, 2021 admin No comments

    Facebook meme gets facts totally wrong

    One of our city councilors posted this meme on his Facebook page a while ago.

    No photo description available.
    Top: Quebec’s Malartic open pit gold mine;
    Bottom: a reference to Teck Resources’ proposed Frontier oil sands development

    Mining is a Provincial Matter

    First, let’s remember that mining (except on federal lands) is a PROVINCIAL matter. Provincial governments are responsible for the exploration, development, and extraction of mineral resources, and the construction, management, reclamation, and closeout of mine sites in their jurisdiction. So how does Trudeau, as PM, have anything to say about these mines? More later.

    About Malartic Mine

    Quebec’s Malartic gold mine, the largest open-pit mine in Canada, has been in operation since 1935, according to their website. Kind of predates both Trudeau PMs, no?

    In 2008, “The ore body is located directly beneath a sector in the Town of Malartic. Osisko relocates more than 150 homes in a new neighbourhood.” Justin Trudeau took office in 2015, so how is he responsible for moving those homes?

    The highway that was moved in 2017 was Route 117, an offshoot (TransCanada North) rather than the main TransCanada Highway. The Quebec government approved the mine expansions that necessitated moving both the homes and the highway. Trudeau not required.

    Reasons for Federal Involvement in Mining

    So why does the meme insist that PM Trudeau is refusing to approve a mine in Alberta? Mining is a provincial matter; how does the PM have any say? There are a few reasons.

    1. The Environment. Under the Constitution of Canada, environmental management is a shared responsibility between federal and provincial governments.
    2. First Nations. The federal government negotiates land rights and environmental concerns with aboriginal governments.
    3. Money. Provinces often want financial support from the federal government for large projects.

    Teck Resources Ltd. Frontier Mine

    Since the Teck mine would harm the environment and generate four million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually; since indigenous lands would be affected; and since Alberta needs money, the feds are involved.

    Most of the regulatory process had been completed. Teck had agreed to be carbon-neutral by 2050 (after producing 160 megatonnes of emissions), and the first nations seemed to be onboard with the money and jobs the mine would produce. It was only awaiting parliamentary approval (that is, the whole government, not just the Prime Minister) with a deadline of Feb. 28, 2021.

    A Couple of Post Scripts

    Really, it’s moot at this point. The deadline has passed without federal government approval. Teck has withdrawn their regulatory application. Read their letter here. Don Lindsay, Teck president and CEO, had actually questioned whether the mine would ever be built, in part because oil prices were not high enough.

    PS: Malartic was in 2016 the subject of a class action suit by the townspeople; the suit was settled in 2019. https://miningwatch.ca/news/2019/10/15/largest-gold-mine-canada-settles-affected-citizens-out-court

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