Manitoba poised to open first provincial park mine in decades, within threatened woodland caribou habitat
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Canada, February 5, 2013 –/WORLD-WIRE/– The Manitoba government is in the final stages of authorizing a new copper mine in Grass River Provincial Park operated by Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company (Hudbay). Manitobans have voiced strong objections to mining and other industrial activity in provincial parks.
“It’s a park. I thought parks were the one place we could escape mining and find solace in undisturbed nature. This mine is a slap in the face of all Manitobans who, like me, value protecting wilderness,” said Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director with the Wilderness Committee.
Over the past few years, the Wilderness Committee has collected 25,000 letters to the government from Manitobans saying “No” to industrial activity and logging in parks. And yet, this project is still going ahead.
Despite the fact that a full licence has not yet been granted, the provincial government has quietly allowed Hudbay to establish an advance exploration project for this mine. The forest in the project area has been cleared, and work on the mine shaft had already commenced before the public comment period even began.
“As is often the case with the Manitoba government, the construction on site is so far along as to render the public consultations meaningless. Even without full approval of this mine, the impact of this exploration will be visible in the forest for the next half century,” Reder said.
The project is situated near the edge of Reed Lake, in a crucial travel corridor for endangered woodland caribou. The surrounding forest has been protected from logging for decades in an effort to preserve caribou. This mine project would threaten a caribou range listed as “high risk” by the Manitoba government. Hudbay’s initial exploration work has already destroyed portions of their habitat.
In addition to impacts on caribou, the Wilderness Committee is also concerned about the long-term toxic impact of provincial park mining. While the company insists that its previous mine work in this park has had minimal impact, the devastation from Hudbay’s Spruce Point Mine Site is still plainly visible.
Manitoba is one of the few jurisdictions in the world that still allows mining in parks.
For more information contact:
Maps of Reed Mine site and caribou habitat
Video: Spruce Point Mine Site Mess
B-roll of Spruce Point Mine Site -
Click here to visit the letter-writing tool for public comments to Manitoba Environmental Licensing Branch.