We have Sudbury’s back on Cliffs: Ministry – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Ontario’s air standards are among the most stringent in the world, so the Ministry of the Environment will have its eye on Cliffs Natural Resources as it develops its $3.3-billion Ring of Fire project.

That project includes a $1.8- billion ferrochrome processing plant to be built near Capreol. Mining projects such as Cliffs’ are subject to extensive environmental assessments both federally and provincially, says Environment ministry spokeswoman Kate Jordan.

Cliffs will have to receive “numerous” provincial approvals before moving forward with the project. Those environmental assessments will include identifying and predicting how the company can mitigate the environmental effects of these projects.

Cliffs will have to demonstrate that its smelter will meet all provincial minimum applicable standards, specifically related to chromium, said Jordan. The province has different standards for different types of chromium.

The company will also have to demonstrate that it will operate in “an environmentally responsible way.”

MiningWatch Canada is calling on the government of Ontario to put its role as regulator first and promote projects in the Ring of Fire second when approving projects such as Cliffs’.

The watchdog agency is concerned the Liberal government is “bordering on boosterism for the project versus saying, ‘OK, well, this is a proposal. We need to evaluate it, we need to ensure the regulations are in place. We need to ensure the best tehcnology is applied to reduce human health effects,’ ” said Mining- Watch’s Ramsey Hart.

When you get into that mode of government as promoter, “the concern is the environmental risks can be minimized or pushed to one side,” he said.

MiningWatch’s role is to ask questions, and hold industry and government to account, said Hart, who is Canada program co-ordinator for the organizatio that aims to change public policy and mining practices to ensure the health of people, communities and ecosystems.

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