Miners worry about environmental survey (CBC News Thunder Bay – July 31, 2013)


Mining industry stakeholders concerned the Lake Superior Binational Forum survey could hinder their plans

A group interested in preventing pollution in Lake Superior is asking the public what it thinks about mining activities — and some supporters of a proposed new mine in the area are worried about the impact the results of that survey might have.

Sponsored by the Lake Superior Binational Forum, the survey asks respondents to think about the environmental impact of mining activity around the lake. CBC News obtained an e-mail exchange among mining industry stakeholders that showed there is concern the survey could hinder their plans.

“Can you blast a new email out to your network, asking anyone with an interest in mining to complete the survey so that a balanced result occurs?” the email said. “We are reasonably certain this is a move by the bi-national forum to enter the results against Stillwater’s project in the panel proceedings this fall, in an overall effort to kill mining around Lake Superior.”

The general manager of a mining company with plans to build a mine north of Marathon, said he filled out the questionnaire because he wants the results to be balanced.

“A number of our people at the office … talked about it,” Stillwater’s Clark Gilbert said. “The survey is open in the paper and they should go take a look at it.”

‘Not trying to stack the deck’
Lissa Radke of the Binational Forum said the purpose of the survey was to gather input from all sectors.

“We’re not trying to stack the deck,” she said, noting the results of a survey like this won’t be able to stop a mine. “We’re not trying to push an agenda. We are simply trying to get public input [for government consideration].” Radke said

So far, 1,200 surveys have been filled out since it was put out in March. The last day to fill out a survey is July 31.

Until recently, the Binational Forum has been using public forums to gather input.

Radke said the organization has promoted the online survey many places, including websites that cater to the mining industry and websites that cater to environmentalists. They have also promoted the survey on social media.

The results of the survey will be sent to a subcommittee for consideration. The subcommittee will then come up with recommendations, which they’ll send back to the Binational Forum. From there, the forum will debate those recommendations. Any recommendations that are agreed upon will then be sent to state and provincial governments responsible for mining in and around the Lake Superior basin

The Binational Forum said they hope to have that final list of recommendations ready by September.

For the original version of this article, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/story/2013/07/31/tby-binational-forum-lake-superior-survey-thunder-bay-mining-environment.html