Citizens, experts voice ferrochrome qualms – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – April 30, 2018)

If there was any doubt left as to the level of interest or concern about a proposed ferrochrome smelter in Coniston, that should have been erased with a visit to Ecole Notre-Dame de la Merci on Saturday afternoon.

Greater Sudburians packed the school gym for a panel discussion and information session hosted by the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury and focused on the possibility of a ferrochrome production facility in Coniston, which the city has identified as a preferred site for Noront Resources to smelt chromite mined in the Ring of Fire, should the company choose Sudbury over competitors such as Thunder Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie.

“We’re not having a debate here,” panel moderator Laurie McGauley said. “We’re having an information session to find out what we need to know, as citizens, about this proposal.”

Panellists included Dr. Stefan Siemann and Dr. Charles Ramcharan, university researchers who outlined the potential environmental and health impacts; Brennain Lloyd, from the environmental protection network Northwatch, and Liza Vandermeer, a retired Ministry of Environment and Climate Change staffer, who both gave insight into the environmental review and regulatory process; Stefanie Recollet, environmental coordinator for Wahnapitae First Nation, who provided her community’s concerns about the project; and Barb Deschamps, member of No Ferrochrome Sudbury, a group opposed to the smelter.

None of the panellists was outspoken in support of the project, though the City of Greater Sudbury, which submitted a bid for the smelter to Noront, was asked to take part in the panel discussion. The city declined to participate, according to McGauley, who said Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation was also invited, but declined.

Deschamps, a Coniston resident, opened the panel with an impassioned speech against the smelter.

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