Ontario’s updated Mineral Development Strategy offered a few “glimmers of hope” by addressing abandoned mine rehabilitation, but is short on details, said MiningWatch Canada.
“Over half of the report is just plain marketing facts for the industry,” said Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch’s Canadian program co-ordinator. “There’s no real substance to what this government will do.”
In fact, the first 17 pages of the 25-page Mineral Development Strategy report consist of overviews of Ontario’s mining sector and a number of profiles on mining companies and non-profit organizations like NORCAT.
Under a section titled “A safe and environmentally responsible industry,” the strategy acknowledges rehabilitating abandoned mine sites on Crown land as a priority, but does not offer additional details.
MiningWatch Canada has argued in the past Ontario doesn’t have the funds necessary to meet its growing environmental liability of mine sites.
While Ontario’s auditor general has estimated operating and abandoned mine site clean-up costs for the province to be over $3.1 billion, MiningWatch Canada estimates the number could be as high as $7.6 billion.
Past mine rehabilitation projects, Lapointe said, such as the cleanup of the Kam Kotia mine site near Timmins, have shown costs can more than double once the rehabilitation work begins.
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