We’ll manage mining, thanks – Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – July 8, 2015)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Southern Ontario environmental groups should lobby more extensively in their own backyard before briefly flying over and criticizing development in ours.

Last week, Toronto-based Wildlands League said that mining exploration in the Ring of Fire has already caused damage to the Far North’s ecosystem. It released aerial photos showing exploration activity — rudimentary mining camps and a runway.

Wildlands claims that the photos challenge the idea of mining exploration having little impact on the area. What would Wildlands have exploration companies do — drop their employees into the bush by helicopter to sleep on the ground and conduct staking operations without cutting a single tree? The “impact” is a minor intrusion on a massive area of the Far North.

Meanwhile, one has only to look at the constant expansion of urbanization north of Toronto to see what new housing and strip malls can do for the environment — destroy it. The steady advance of development has gobbled up thousands of acres of once productive farmland and wildlife habitat.

Groups like Wildlands League should increase their efforts to preserve and expand southern parkland from pavement’s march before launching exaggerated claims about a potentially massive wealth and job generator for the province in Northern Ontario.

Take for example, the “extensive” line cutting and drill pads in photos taken by the group. These areas will be taken over again by forest once the personnel depart.

While the group says that it is not against mining or development, it wants to make sure there is thoughtful planning on roads location and environmental protection. Yes, we are well aware of that, which is why the people of the North are taking a very long time considering the pros and cons of the mining development.

We live here and believe that mines and transportation infrastructure can co-exist with nature. We’re not about to pave the North or build shopping malls over vital caribou habitat in the Ring of Fire.

Eventually, we’re going to develop a mining camp that takes wildlife needs and environmental stewardship into account. One that produces jobs, wealth and restores the landscape to its natural beauty once the mining companies have left.

For the original source of this editorial, click here: http://www.chroniclejournal.com/opinion/editorials/we-ll-manage-mining-thanks/article_21f73da0-24e9-11e5-96bc-6f8e2f42b23b.html