Timmins citizens grill Goldcorp over plans for Hollinger open pit mine – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – October 12, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Uncertainty and mistrust were two of the overriding issues that seemed to dominate a public meeting held Thursday night in Timmins to discuss the plan by Goldcorp to turn the old Hollinger Mine property into a massive open pit operation.

The meeting was almost confrontational with at least one citizen pledging to become an outspoken “pain in the ass” to protest Goldcorp’s mining plan.

The meeting was hosted by the Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee (HPCAC) as an 11th hour attempt to gather more public input on the project that Goldcorp is hoping to have up and running before Christmas.

Although the meeting at the McIntyre Ballroom lasted nearly three hours, there were less than 100 residents at the meeting. Those that did attend managed to pepper the Goldcorp and City of Timmins employees with a barrage of questions. One Goldcorp employee agreed the meeting was intense, but suggested it was “only a vocal minority.”

The uncertainty at the meeting appeared to come from the fact that many residents asked pointed questions about how the project might affect them, but Goldcorp staffers were unable to provide specific or absolute answers because there are many issues and studies not yet completed.

Many of the answers from Goldcorp to the citizens were along the “lets wait and see” theme.

The mistrust likely came from people remembering previous mining companies having said one thing and then done another. Most obvious was the fact that ERG Resources Inc. came into Timmins back in 1988 with promises of running a multi-million dollar gold tailings recovery venture.

That deal was supposed to see ERG dig up old mine tailings from the 1920s to recover leftover gold in the sand. So ERG dug up the popular McIntyre Park and the ball diamonds, but by the early 1990s, the company ran out of money and ran out steam. Then they ran out of town.

The park ERG dug up was left as a hole in the ground that filled up with water and is now known as Little Pearl Lake, although many in Timmins still call it Lac Welin, a jibe at the late Dennis Welin who was Mayor of Timmins when ERG left town.

There was also concern voiced over the fact that even though the HPCAC recommended a 30-day public consultation period for studying the site plan control agreement between Goldcorp and the City of Timmins, it appears city staff is recommending only a two-week period of public consultation.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminstimes.com/2012/10/12/timmins-citizens-grill-goldcorp-over-plans-for-hollinger-open-pit-mine