Our team of experts has visited all the local communities that will be directly or indirectly impacted by the Eagle’s Nest Mine Project: Aroland, Attawapiskat, Eabametoong, Ignace, Long Lake #58, Ginoogaming, Marten Falls, Mishkeegogamang, Neskatantaga, Nibinamik, Ojibwae Nation of Saugeen, Pickle Lake Thunder Bay and Webequie.
The Open Houses held in each community were designed to present information about the mine and its impact on the environment and the local community. We also hoped to create an open and honest dialogue and provide answers to any questions about all aspects of our Project.
We learned a great deal from this process—which is ongoing—and have incorporated significant local feedback into our project design. Below are some of the comments and questions we heard and our responses:
Q. We need to protect our fishing and hunting areas. A mine will pollute our water.
A. Our mine design recycles all process water, so there will be no process-related discharge released into the environment. Wastewater from sewage will be handled and treated according to strict provincial and federal regulations. In addition, we will share the results of our environmental monitoring programs with the community.
Q. If you build a mine, you create a mess that will be here forever.
A. We limited the Eagle’s Nest Mine surface disturbance to less than 55 hectares, including the regional airport and all process tailings will be stored underground as paste backfill (this is unlike other typical mine developments). In addition, mine closure is highly regulated and Noront’s plan ensures the environment will be returned as much as possible to its natural state.
Q. We want to participate in the Project, but we need skills. What are you going to do to help us, our children and grandchildren benefit from your mine?
A. We teamed up with Matawa’s KKETS and Confederation College to form The Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA). Participants are given skills training and guided to long-term career paths in the resources sector. We’ve had 140 Matawa First Nations graduates to date and expect another 260 people to be trained in 2014/15. See RoFATA for more details.
Q. Will you let us provide input into the Eagle’s Nest Mine design? How will you keep us up-to-date on your progress?
A. Open House meetings have been held in all the communities that will be impacted by the mine. These meetings are designed to provide information about the mine and to listen and take input from members of the community. This is something we take seriously. All of our materials have been provided in English, French, Cree and Ojicree. In addition, project updates are provided once a month on Wawatay radio in English and Ojicree.
Anyone who wants to provide a comment or feedback to Noront can do so by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us toll-free at 1-855-966-7668.
Q. A pipeline across the wetlands could fail and leak harming the environment.
A. We changed our Project design in response to this concern. There will be no pipeline. Instead we will use proven techniques to build a road over peat.
Q. Won’t your road run through our traplines and some of our sacred land?
A. We asked representatives from local communities to join us in the field to help us select the route for our road. We wanted to ensure the Project infrastructure created as little disturbance as possible to areas of importance. We are following the existing winter road corridor in order to minimize disturbance and avoids major river crossings.
We provided maps of the road at our Open House meetings so community members could review our proposed route and point out their traplines and areas of concern. The concentrate we transport along this road will be in sealed bags and we have developed plans for every contingency as part of the Environmental Management System we created for the project.
Q. What if we can’t get to an Open House?
We are planning to host Virtual Open Houses for community members who are not able to attend meetings and presentations in person.