Conservation Council of New Brunswick Comments on Sisson Mine Project Environmental Assessment Report

Conservation Council of New Brunswick – MiningWatch Canada

(Fredericton) The Sisson Mine should not be approved based on an expert review of the federal government’s Comprehensive Study Report of the project, says the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, a funded participant in the federal environmental review of the project.

The Sisson Mine project, if built, would be an open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine and one of the world’s largest tailings dams in the heart of the upper Nashwaak River Valley. The mine has failed to gain the consent of New Brunswick First Nations, and important questions about the mine’s impact on the natural environment remain unanswered, says Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

Based on the comments of its expert reviewers, one of which was MiningWatch Canada, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick have raised five overarching concerns with the Sisson mine’s Comprehensive Study Report (CSR):

  1. The Project should not be approved until impacts on Aboriginal and treaty rights are fully addressed and accommodated;
  2. Fundamental questions regarding the Project’s environmental impacts, especially its cumulative impacts, remain unanswered;
  3. The need for the Project has not been adequately demonstrated;
  4. The CSR does not require the use of best available practices for mitigation measures; and,
  5. The conclusions of the CSR are based on improper reliance on undefined adaptive management strategies.

MiningWatch Canada’s submission notes that the “Sisson Mine would be 5-10 times bigger than most other tungsten mines in the world, but the ore grade (the percentage of tungsten and molybdenum in the ore) is 3-7 times lower. Therefore, this mine would generate more mining waste, be more marginal economically, and greatly increase the overall social, environmental and economic risks for investors, the public, governments, and affected communities.”

“Following the Mount Polley tailings dam disaster that spilled 25 million cubic metres of slurry and waste into the pristine Quesnel Lake and surrounding waters of British Columbia, the Sisson tailings dam should use the best available practice and technology as recommended in an inquiry of the Mount Polley mine disaster. It does not and therefore, should not be approved,” says Ugo Lapointe, Canadian Program Director for MiningWatch Canada.

Recent reports from the Auditor General offices in both Ontario (Dec. 2015) and British Columbia (May 2016) state that provincial governments’ oversight on mines is alarmingly inadequate, does not protect the public from significant environmental risks and does not require mining companies to post adequate financial security deposits to cover reclamation costs. Similar mine oversight concerns are shared in New Brunswick, adding further reason for the governments to not approve the Sisson mine.

To arrange an interview, contact: Corey Robichaud, (506) 458-8747

  • Read the Conservation Council’s submission to the Comprehensive Study Report here.
  • Read MiningWatch Canada’s submission to the Comprehensive Study Report here.
  • Read the media release from the B.C. Auditor General and the full report here.
  • Read MiningWatch Canada’s response to the Ontario Auditor General report here.