Temagami plan not a done deal as old-growth red pines at risk [from mining] – by Moira Welsh and Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – December 13, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

The plan to destroy old growth forest near Temagami is not a done deal, said the Minister of Natural Resources.

In the wake of a Star story about his ministry’s plans to remove protections for stands of 300-year-old red pine around Wolf Lake in northern Ontario, Minister Michael Gravelle said he will decide soon whether the area will be opened up for increased mining.

“I will be speaking with my officials soon about that,” Gravelle said. “There is no question that there is now an elevated interest in this issue,” he added, referring to the Star story.

The ministry wants to change the “forest reserve” designation for 340 hectares around Wolf Lake, located 50 kilometres from Temagami, to “general use,” which puts a greater focus on mining instead of forests and recreation.

The only company drilling in the region is Alberta’s Flag Resources, which has been delisted or forced to stop trading on stock exchanges across the country. It is currently not trading anywhere.

Flag Resources spokesperson Murdo McLeod said Monday he expects the company will begin drilling for gold in January.

Yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he has paddled the pristine lakes and rivers around Temagami, but was unaware of how threatened they are by his own government’s policy until he read the Star on Monday.

“I have in fact taken my boys — at the end of every summer we take a canoe trip and we’ve been to Temagami. It’s a great place, beautiful forests, great freshwater lakes — clean freshwater lakes – and it’s first I’ve learned about it this morning,” McGuinty told reporters at an Aurora high school.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1100975–temagami-plan-not-a-done-deal-as-old-growth-red-pines-at-risk?bn=1