At Least Some Mines Get Fines Instead of Permits Under the MMER
Last week, Saskatchewan’s La Ronge provincial court declared Claude Resources Inc. guilty of three offences under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation (MMER) of the Fisheries Act in relation to activities at Laonil Lake. The Saskatchewan-based mining company’s Seabee gold mine in northeastern Saskatchewan violated the MMER by: 1) depositing an acutely lethal effluent; 2) exceeding prescribed limits for effluents that contain total suspended solids; and 3) failing to report that their monitoring tests showed exceeded limits.
Apparently, Environment Canada and Saskatchewan Environment have tried for some time to get the company to become more compliant with regulations but without success. As a consequence, legal action was taken and Claude Resources Inc. was fined $90,000, of which $40,000 will be paid as a fine, and $50,000 to be given to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation.
Canada’s lakes and rivers are facing an imminent threat from Schedule 2 of the MMER which was introduced in 2002. Schedule 2 is a list of Canadian lakes that were reclassified as “tailing impoundment areas” – a mining waste site, under the MMER of the federal Fisheries Act.
There are prohibitions in place thast prevent the pollution of waters known to be fish habitat listed under section 36 (3) of the federal Fisheries Act. However, dumping is permitted under section 5.1(a) and Schedule 2 of the Fisheries Act’s MMER. Schedule 2 of the MMER allows lakes listed under it to be exempt from protection against the “depositing deleterious substances” into fish habitat under section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act. To date, there are 15 lakes in the provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut listed under Schedule 2.
For more information on Schedule 2 and related blog posts click here.