MINING AND CANADA'S NATIONAL PARKS LEARNING THROUGH DIALOGUE by pck41883

VIEWS: 27 PAGES: 12

									MINING AND CANADA’S NATIONAL
            PARKS
 LEARNING THROUGH DIALOGUE




      Pukaskwa National Park
            Workshop
        October 29-30, 2003
               Mining and Canada’s National Parks
                   Learning Through Dialogue

                Pukaskwa National Park Workshop
                      October 29-30, 2003
     _________________________
                       TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                           Page

Background                                                      1
     Pukaskwa National Park                                     2
     The Axys Study – Pukaskwa                                  3
The Mining/Pukaskwa Workshop                                    4
     Introduction                                               4
     The Mines
            Golden Giant                                        6
            Williams Operating Company (David Bell
                  and Williams mines)                           6
            River Gold Mines                                    7
     Exploration in the Pukaskwa Region                         7
     Pukaskwa National Park                                     8
Outcomes                                                       10


                           APPENDICES
A    -     Workshop Agenda


                         PRESENTATIONS
B    -     Mining and Protected Areas – Forging a New
                 Relationship – Mining Association of Canada
                 and Canadian Nature Federation
           A Dialogue with Pukaskwa National Park – Mining
                 Assocation of Canada
           Today’s Environment for Exploration – Prospectors
                 and Developers Association of Canada

C    -     Golden Giant Mine – Newmont Canada Limited
           David Bell and Williams Mines – Barrick Gold
                 Corporation and Teck Cominco Limited
           River Gold Mines
                                                                    2
         MINING AND CANADA’S NATIONAL PARKS
             LEARNING THROUGH DIALOGUE

BACKGOUND

The Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Nature Federation have
enjoyed a long -standing relationship dating back to participation in the
Whitehorse Mining Initiative, a national multi-interest accord signed in 1994. The
two organizations have since worked together on a range of initiatives, such as:

      Efforts to protect species at risk in Canada, including the development of
      federal species at risk legislation
      The creation of a new national park on northern Bathurst Island
      Involvement in the North American Bird Conservation Initiative – Canada
      Council

In 2002, MAC and CNF co-sponsored a study, conducted by AXYS
Environmental Consulting Ltd, to examine the extent and nature of mining
activities and impacts on Canada’s national parks. Using the 1997 State of the
Parks Report as a basis for identifying relevant national parks, 16 national parks
were interviewed using a preset questionnaire. The interview results are
summarized in the report, which goes into detail in several areas:

      The type of mining and exploration occurring around national parks
      The nature and significance of the impacts
      Efforts at monitoring and mitigation
      Relevant studies and research

The report reveals that half of Canada’s national parks indicate that mining has
occurred in the past or is currently occurring in or around their park boundaries.
Approximately 90 percent of the mines identified during the interview process are
located outside the parks, however many of these (~39 percent) are located
within 10 kilometers of the park boundaries. A variety of types of mining were
reported, including rock and gravel quarrying, coal, gypsum, gold, lead, tungsten,
peat, limestone and sand mining. Mining activities were associated with a variety
of levels of impacts and status (exploration, active, abandoned).

A few MAC member companies were listed as having an impact on three
national parks: Forillon, Yoho/Kootenay and Pukaskwa [Note: Pukaskwa was not
identified in the original 1997 State of the Parks Report as having any mining
impacts, but subsequent AXYS interviews with Park Staff indicated potential
impacts and/or threats from mining ]. Following discussions involving the CNF,
Parks Canada, MAC and its members, it was decided that workshops involving
the two latter parks and the mines to discuss the report’s findings was a
worthwhile next step (in the case of Forillon, the impact was low and historic and
was therefore not a priority).
                                                                                1
      Pukaskwa National Park

      A first workshop was organized in Marathon, Ontario, near the gateway to
      Pukaskwa National Park. This park covers 1,880 square kilometers of rugged
      terrain and frigid water along the rocky north shore of Lake Superior halfway
      between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. Founded in 1978, Ontario’s largest
      national park, it protects a representative sample of the Central Boreal Uplands
      and the Great Lakes coastline, while encouraging an appreciation of the area's
      natural and cultural heritage, in part through the employment of native people in
      the interpretation program.

      The region also has a long history of mineral exploration and development. To
      the north of Pukaswka National Park is the Hemlo gold camp, the site of three
                           operating mines: Williams and David Bell, owned and
                           operated by a Teck Cominco Limited and Barrick Gold
                           Corporation joint venture, and Golden Giant operated by
                           Newmont Canada Limited. River Gold Mines Ltd. owns
                           and operates another gold mine to the southeast of the
                           park. Aggregate mineral and gravel operations are found
                           in the region, which also continues to be explored for gold
                           and, more recently, diamonds.
Beautiful view of the Pukaskwa
         National Park


      The Hemlo camp mines are well developed and, in the case of Golden Giant,
      now preparing for closure. Closure and reclamation planning issues provided an
      additional important context for the workshop’s dialogue.




                                                                                     2
                                                 Hemlo Camp




                                                              River Gold Mines




The AXYS Study – Pukaskwa

The AXYS report rated mining as a medium to low stressor on Pukaskwa
National Park. Impacts or issues related to mining included concerns over
potential water quality degradation in park watersheds, as they are located
downstream from mining activities. Mining was also indicated to pose a risk to
the ecological integrity of the park, due to impacts associated with access roads,
habitat fragmentation       The park indicated that active management and
communication was taking place with the Hemlo Camp through Williams
Operating Corporation, where water quality monitoring was being conducted in
collaboration with the park. The Greater Pukaskwa Area Regional
Communications Group was identified as a forum for communication between
the park, industry and other interests in the region.
                                                                                 3
THE MINING/PUKASKWA WORKSHOP

The workshop took place on October 29-30, 2003. The first day included a
guided tour of the Golden Giant mine, including its tailings facility and final
discharge, and of the park. Formal presentations and discussion began in the
evening followed by a full day of presentations and discussion on October 30
(see the Agenda in Appendix A). Participants included:


        NAME                       TITLE                  ORGANIZATION
Jen Theberge, PhD.         Ecosystem                   Pukaskwa National
                           Management Specialist       Park
Keith Wade                 Senior Park Warden          Pukaskwa National
                                                       Park
Svenja Hansen              Heritage Extension and      Pukaskwa National
                           Outreach Coordinator        Park
Dan Couchie                Chief of Resource           Pukaskwa National
                           Conservation                Park
Normand Lecuyer            General Mine Manager        River Gold Mines
Walter Sencza              Environmental Manager       Newmont Canada
                           Canadian Operations         Limited
Shayne Everett             Manager, External           Newmont Canada
                           Relations and               Limited
                           Community Affairs
Adele Faubert              Area Environmental          Williams Operating
                           Coordinator                 Company
Vern Baker                 General Manager             Williams Operating
                                                       Company
Jim Somers                 Employee Relations          Williams Operating
                           Superintendent              Company
Gerald Harper              President and CEO           Gamah International
                                                       Limited
Elizabeth Gardiner         Vice President –            Mining Association of
                           Technical Affairs           Canada
Pierre Gratton             Vice President – Public     Mining Association of
                           Affairs                     Canada
Marc Johnson               Manager of Protection       Canadian Nature
                           Campaigns                   Federation


Introduction

The workshop began with a joint MAC-CNF presentation that provided much of
the context for the meeting, as described above. In addition, the presentation
described the mining industry’s evolution in its thinking about, and approach to,
protected areas.

                                                                               4
Early mining regulation in Canada has focused on mine site issues, such as
effluent quality, acid rock drainage, safety issues, tailings management and air
issues. Attention to broader “landscape” issues was sporadic, often only
considered at the front end through the environmental assessment of proposed
mining projects. Recently, however, the mining regulatory regime has widened
its scope: biodiversity concerns are incorporated in environmental assessments;
new Metal Mining Effluent Regulations establish controls over effluent quality and
require Environmental Effects Monitoring ; and the recently enacted Species at
Risk Act will strengthen protection of critical habitat for species at risk.

Industry practices have also improved. Reclamation and tailings management
practices frequently incorporate biodiversity issues and the development and
adoption of new technologies (e.g. passive treatment systems). The mining
industry is less isolated and has had to learn to work more closely with other
interests in its pursuit of its social license to operate. This is reflected through the
development of industry best practice guidelines, such as the Environmental
Excellence in Exploration program, and performance management systems such
as Towards Sustainable Mining (see Appendix B).

Parks and mining advocates have had a historically difficult relationship,
however. Access to land, which protected areas restrict, is a fundamental need
for mining, a fact that has traditionally placed the mining industry at odds with
conservation interests. Since the Whitehorse Mining Initiative, however, the
mining industry’s approach to protected areas issues has evolved, with several
examples across Canada of successful collaboration between mining and parks
advocates. In 2003, the International Council on Mining and Metals, an
organization representing the world’s largest mining companies, published a
statement of commitments that included respect for legally designated protected
areas and a promise not to explore or mine in World Heritage properties.

The presentation also included a discussion on the state of Canada’s National
Parks System, and on the opportunities and challenges in preserving ecological
integrity within and around these parks. A 1997 State of the Parks report
identified that 31 of 36 of Canada’s national parks are facing significant to severe
impairment, and 30 of these parks are facing an increasing trend in impairment.
Eighty-five percent of the identified stressors to Canada’s national parks are
regional in scope, occurring outside of the park boundaries. Industrial land uses
are among the most significant stressors, including forestry, agriculture and
mining, and their associated infrastructure, in particular roads. These activities
are known to fragment and isolate the parks from the broader landscape.

Parks Canada has made a concerted effort to address ecological integrity issues
facing national parks stemming from outside their borders. In 2000, the National
Parks Act was amended to make ecological integrity the first priority in the
management of the parks. Parks’ staff has increasingly begun to look beyond
park boundaries, seeking community partnerships, developing greater ecosystem
conservation plans, conducting research and participating in land use
                                                                                      5
discussions and processes. In March 2003, the federal government allocated
$75 million over five years towards the more effective management of Canada’s
national parks, with an emphasis on preserving their ecological integrity.

The many examples of MAC/CNF collaboration, including the AXYS study and
the Pukaskwa workshop, also help to illustrate, from the mining industry’s
perspective, the industry’s desire to increase its understanding of conservation
issues and to strengthen its relationships with the conservation community.


The Mines

Golden Giant

Shayne Everett and Walter Sencza (Newmont
Canada Limited) provided a detailed presentation
(see Appendix C) on the Golden Giant mine. The
presentation covered a number of issues pertinent
to many gold operations, including the use of
cyanide in the gold recovery process.          To          Tailings Pond at Golden Giant
                                                                       Mine
summarize, the presentation addressed:

      The Golden Giant’s economic contribution (number of jobs, ounces of gold
      produced, purchasing, taxes paid, etc.).

      A description of Newmont’s 5-Star management system and Golden
      Giant’s current ranking and objectives.

      An update on Golden Giant’s closure plans, including community
      consultations and adjustment programs.

      A detailed description of the Golden Giant production process, key inputs,
      effluent treatment system and overall environmental management system,
      including the key risks to be managed.

      A discussion of key environmental issues, including water quality (e.g.
      mercury, selenium levels ), cyanide use, the results of Environmental
      Effluent Monitoring, Site Emergency Plan, and environmental closure
      plans, including progressive reclamation.


Williams Operating Company (David Bell and Williams mines)

Adele Faubert and Vern Baker (Williams Operating Company) provided a
presentation (see Appendix C) on the David Bell and Williams mines. Their
presentation addressed:


                                                                                     6
      The David Bell and Williams mines’ economic contribution (number of
      jobs, ounces of gold produced, annual payroll, etc.).

      A discussion of the mines’ closure plans and progressive reclamation.

      An update on the proposed Williams’ pit expansion, including permit
      applications, DFO Authorization (HADD) and pursuant mitigation and
      compensation.

      A presentation on the mines’ environmental and tailings management
      systems.

      A description of the mines’ participation in the Greater Pukaskwa Area
      Regional Communications Group.             The dialogue has inc luded
      presentations on:
          ? Mining at the Williams Mine
          ? Environmental Programs and Initiatives
          ? Effluent and Receiver Water Quality Data
      The relationship has led to data sharing between the park and the mines,
      comparisons of sampling procedures and participation by park staff in
      remote sampling.       More recent discussions have focused on the
      opportunity for collaboration in the collection of ecological indicators,
      including for water quality, moose populations, land use and reclamation.


River Gold Mines

Norm Lecuyer provided a presentation on River Gold Mines’ operations (see
Appendix C). A junior mining company, River Gold is developing gold deposits to
the east of Pukaswka. Similar to the previous presentations, it addressed:

      River Gold’s economic contribution (number of jobs, ounces of gold
      produced, employment, etc.). Information regarding the mining industry’s
      economic contribution to Ontario was also highlighted.

      A description of the company’s environmental management and
      monitoring systems, closure a nd emergency plans.

      A presentation of the company’s expansion plans.


Exploration in the Pukaskwa Region

Gerald Harper provided a presentation on the exploration sector. It included:
         an overview of exploration in the Pukaskwa region;
         a description of the region’s geology;
         the exploration process; and

                                                                                7
          the changing nature of exploration, including the use of high
          technology and modern risk analysis techniques.

His presentation concluded with a description of the Prospectors and Developers
Association of Canada’s Environmental Excellence in Exploration Program, or E3
(www.e3mining.com).

The geology on the north shore of Lake Superior is highly prospective and has
produced several mines over the past century. Broken down into specific
districts, the region includes deposits of copper, zinc , silver, gold, iron, sand and
gravel and specialty aggregates:

              GECO district – Cu, Zn, Ag (Au) deposits
              HEMLO district – Au (Mo) deposits
              GOUDREAU-LOCHALSH district – Au deposits
              MISHIBISHU district – Au deposits
              WAWA district – Fe deposits
              WAWA district – specialty aggregates
              WHOLE REGION – sand and gravel

The world class Hemlo gold deposit was discovered in 1981, after decades of
exploration. The total deposit is estimated to contain 22 million ounces of gold.
In recent years, the region has become prospective for diamonds, as new
techniques and understanding of the region’s geology has turned up evidence of
diamond potential.

The E3 program is a comprehensive collection of web-based exploration
guidelines for best practices in environmental management and community
engagement. The program, developed by a team of industry experts and
reviewed by governments and NGOs, was launched in response to growing
community concerns about new mining projects. The program will be available
free-of-charge in March 2004. As an electronic manual, it is a living document
that maintains best practice information on an ongoing basis.


Pukaskwa National Park

Jen Theberge, Ecosystem Management Specialist, led discussions on behalf of
Pukaskwa National Park. Pukaskwa NP is a park at the crossroads. It has a
privileged past in that many of the stressors facing other national parks have to
date largely been avoided at Pukaskwa. It is a wilderness park that receives
comparably fewer visitors than other national parks, and consequently has
experienced only localized impacts from visitor use.          Until recently, the
surrounding landscape remained relatively pristine, as very little human
development had yet occurred.




                                                                                    8
         However, over the last twenty years there has been increasing commercial
         interest and use of the region. Moreover, planned resource use activities over
                                        the coming decades have the potential to significantly
                                        alter the landscape. The future ecological integrity of
                                        the park will depend on the ability of park staff to work
                                        together with the community and outside interests to
                                        prevent Pukaskwa from becoming an island of green
                                        surrounded by a range of development activities that
                                        fragment the area’s habitat, isolate the park, and
                                        negate natural processes essential to the
Workshop participants on a walking tour preservation of area wildlife. Chief among these
    of the Pukaskwa National Park
                                        concerns are the need to ensure effective protection
                                        of core habitat and corridors for area wolves and
         caribou, and the need to preserve water quality in the park from upstream
         commercial activities.

       The following are among the current and planned development activities
       surrounding Pukaskwa National Park:

               Current and planned industrial forestry activities in the White River Forest
               immediately to the North of the park, as well as increased road density
               and public access in and around the northern region of the Park through
               the newly created forestry road network.

               The mining activities discussed at the workshop.

               A proposed trap rock mine along 2.5 kilometers of Lake Superior shoreline
               just southwest of Wawa .

               A series of approved hydro-electricity projects to be constructed in
               proximity to the park, including the Umbatta Falls Hydro-Electric project
               approximately 2 kilometers from the park.

       Pukaskwa NP staff believe that one of the essential means of preserving the
       ecological health of the Park is to work in partnership with the community, First
       Nations, and industry commercial interests to create a common understanding
       and appreciation for the park, and to together promote the need for land use
       activities adjacent to the park that are compatible with Park objectives. They
       have taken pro-active steps towards working beyond park boundaries, including
       developing a co-operative approach to management with area First Nations,
       developing the Greater Pukaskwa Area Regional Communications Group,
       establishing a Zone of Special Cooperation with Domtar Inc., conducting an
       exchange site visit with Hemlo, partnering with the Williams mine on water
       monitoring activities, and conducting greater ecosystem planning.

       Park staff also discussed the need to ensure the continued presence of protected
       corridors and buffers to provide connectivity between the region’s parks and
       other protected areas, thereby allowing wildlife to move naturally across
                                                                                               9
jurisdictional boundaries. Of particular interest are corridors along the shores of
Lake Superior connecting Pukaskwa National Park to Lake Superior Provincial
Park in the east and a corridor along the White River connecting Pukaskwa Park
to White Lake Provincial Park to the north. It is likely that development in these
corridors would impair animal movements and ecosystem functions sufficiently
that the environment in Pukaskwa would be adversely affected.

Subsequent discussions ensued by all participants about means for the mining
community, the Park and other interests to work more closely together. Specific
future opportunities that were identified are itemized later in this report.


OUTCOMES

The workshop presentations generated considerable
discussion, which all participants found informative and
beneficial. Industry and park officials recognized the
importance of ongoing communications to avoid potential
conflict and to support responsible environmental
management in the region. A number of outcomes or
                                                               Workshop participants learn about
follow-up actions were identified:                                   mining processes

      Newmont will re-join the Greater Park Area Regional Communications
      Group, to ensure communications with the park are ongoing.

      Information sharing on water, plant and wildlife surveys.

      Opportunities for joint research on environmental indicators.

      Industry will look more closely at wildlife movement corridors between
      protected areas in the region.

      Industry to participate in Park Management Plan review consultations, set
      to commence in early 2004.

      Industry to explore opportunities for inviting parks staff to the site to hold
      information and training seminars for mine employees on park protection
      issues and bear safety.

      Industry to provide support as conduit to other industries in the region

The group agreed that a report of the workshop should be prepared and
published. Pukaskwa staff also indicated that they would be interested in
supporting future MAC/CNF workshops with other national parks in the future.




                                                                                      10

								
To top