(Pointe a-la-Croix, Quebec) The Coalition Stop Uranium Baie des Chaleurs and the Citizens’ Committee of Pointe-à-la-Croix were very pleased to receive the news that Vancouver-based mining company Terra Firma Resources it is giving up its option on the Restigouche uranium prospect. “While an important victory for those of us who oppose uranium mining it’s still too soon to get out the champagne and celebrate,” says Coalition member Michel Goudreau.
With Terra Firma pulling out, the mineral claims will revert back to a local prospector who may try to find another company willing to invest in exploration activities. However, Luc Vallieres of the Citizens’ Committee points out that “any company who might think about doing exploration for uranium in our community will face the same opposition as Terra Firma.”
“This is an important victory for the Coalition, but we won’t have really won until Quebec adopts a moratorium on uranium,” added Mr. Goudreau. In Quebec and elsewhere in Canada uranium exploration and mining companies have faced stiff opposition from communities. In Quebec this has included communities on the North Shore, in the Laurentians and in Gaspé.
Minister of Natural Resources, Nathalie Normandeau and her government should understand that exploration and extraction of uranium are not environmentally, socially or economically sustainable. The massive volume of toxic, radioactive waste that uranium mining generates demonstrates this.
The Baie des Chaleurs coalition and the province-wide movement it belongs to, the Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure Mine! (Quebec Better Mining Coalition), will continue to demand that Quebec follow Nova Scotia and British Columbia in implementing a uranium moratorium. The groups are also demanding changes to Quebec’s out-dated Mining Act so that municipalities and landowners have greater power to block mining projects that are not socially acceptable.
Last week, property owners with surface rights to 2,359 ha, about half of the Restigouche property, sent Terra Firma 125 registered letters prohibiting the company from undertaking any exploration activity on their properties. “The claims on public lands are still completely open for the company to explore, with virtually no oversight by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife. This is why we continue to pressure Minister Normandeau to implement a uranium moratorium. It is the only solution that, over the long-term, can protect the health and the environment in all parts of Quebec,” concludes Goudreau.
Michel Goudreau, spokesperson for Coalition Stop Uranium (418) 788-5590
Luc Vallières, spokesperson for Pointe-à-la-Croix Citizens’ Committee, (418) 788-5951/788-2555