Joan Kuyek is co-founder of MiningWatch Canada and the author of Unearthing Justice.
A recent op-ed in The Narwhal said that Sudbury, Ont. offered proof that a “[post-mining] re-greening road map exists,” and indicated that Sudbury provides a model to the world. However, any community attempting to replicate the Sudbury model has to know its dirty, and often untold, stories.
The mines and smelters in Sudbury — Canada’s largest mining community — were built on and destroyed the lands of the Atikameksheng Anishinaabek. The boundaries of their tiny reserve were deliberately drawn to exclude mineral rich lands. Although over $1 trillion has been taken from the Sudbury region, the First Nation has received no compensation and no apology.
Over more than 100 years of smelter operations, the major pollutant has been sulphur dioxide, as well as lead, nickel, cadmium, copper, arsenic, cobalt and selenium. The contamination spread over 80,000 hectares.
It has taken more than 50 years, since the early days of organizing around acid rain abatement, to get the federal and provincial regulations in place to effectively limit these emissions. Despite the urgent need for the regulation, the federal Base Metal Smelter Regulation was fought ferociously by Inco and Falconbridge (now Vale and Glencore).
For the rest of this column: https://thenarwhal.ca/opinion-sudbury-ontario-regreening-mining-2/