(Ottawa) MiningWatch’s Canada Program Coordinator, Ramsey Hart is on his way to Mistissini, Eeyou Istchee (the Cree Territory in the James Bay Region of northern Quebec) to participate in a community event and speak at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) licencing hearing for the Matoush Advanced Exploration Uranium Project. Tonight, Hart will participate in a rally and concert organized by Mistissini Youth Council, and on June 5 he will be making an oral presentation to the CNSC.
Since November of 2010 MiningWatch has joined the Mistissini Cree and the Coalition Québec meilleure mine! in opposing Strateco Resources' proposal to construct an exploration ramp and eventual uranium mine in Eeyou Istchee.
MiningWatch Canada has a position against further expansion of uranium mining in Canada but also has specific concerns about the Matoush project and the process that has been used to evaluate it under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and now the CNSC’s licencing procedures.
One of MiningWatch's principal concerns is the lack of rigour in the evaluation of the impacts of the advanced exploration project on water quality and quantity in the project area. Strateco has yet to provide a detailed water balance for the 2.4 km underground ramp that they propose to construct below the water table into permeable sandstone. Comparisons of the company’s technical reports, their Environmental Impact Statement, and information provided by the CNSC give considerably different estimates of the volume of water that will be pumped from the exploration ramp, require treatment and then be discharged to the environment.
The project has also failed to gain the support of the Mistissini Cree. Surveys done by the community have shown strong opposition to the project and support for a moratorium or ban on uranium mining. There is also strong opposition to uranium mining across Quebec with 320 municipalities having passed resolutions supporting a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining.
Ramsey Hart, [email protected], cell (613) 298-4745