Thirty-two members of the Ontario Mining Action Network met in Sault Ste. Marie September 15-16, 2006, for a technical workshop on Acid Mine Drainage and a strategy session.
The Ontario Mining Action Network promotes responsible mining practices through mutual support founded on common interests, taking into account the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of mining in Ontario.
The OMAN participants came from First Nations and communities all over the province.
The technical workshop on Acid Mine Drainage was presented by Gilles Tremblay, who works with the Mining and Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) initiative of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Acid Mine Drainage is a real concern for most communities in northern Ontario, as most mining there is in sulphide ores. There were many questions and a lively discussion. Power point slides from the presentation can be obtained from MEND or MiningWatch Canada.
The strategy session heard stories from all the participants about how mining is impacting their communities - from staking to mine development to abandoned mines.
A presentation from Anastasia Lintner of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund told participants about the lack of Environmental Assessment for new mines by the province because of repeated extensions of a Declaration Order that exempts them (see "Outrageous! Most mines in Ontario escape meaningful environmental assessment." for details).
The participants agreed to work on the following priorities over the next year:
1. Youth and education:
- Ensure more youth are leaders and participants in the network
- Enable youth to understand the social, environmental and cultural impacts of mining
- Promote the curriculum material “the Mining Controversy”
2. Key Ontario policies on which we will intervene:
- “Free Entry” and the Mining Act – support Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake First Nation) in its court challenge to the Ontario Mining Act
- Environmental Assessment – develop a model of what an ideal EA should look like, and challenge the Declaration Order
- Reclamation Bonding – promote “Full, Upfront Bonds”, including reclamation, remediation, perpetual monitoring, etc.,
- End the Ontario practice of accepting “self-assurance” instead of realizable securities
3. Ensure that the network can continue and expand its work.