The true cost of critical minerals – by Emilie Cameron, Rosemary Collard & Jessica Dempsey (National Observer – May 2, 2024)

The 2024 federal budget bolsters Canada’s ambitions to be a global supplier of critical minerals. Corporate tax incentives and shorter environmental review periods have been added to an earlier commitment of $4 billion in support of mining copper, lithium and other minerals essential to green technologies like e-vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines.

Amid a global scramble to secure critical minerals supply chains, Canada is highlighting its environmentally sustainable approach to extraction, anchored in “respect for Indigenous and treaty rights.” What does all this look like on the ground?

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Board recommends against proposed mining road in central Yukon – by Caitrin Pilkington (CBC News North -January 3, 2024)

TMM Goldcorp Inc.’s proposed road west of Pelly Crossing could be bad for caribou, says YESAB

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) is recommending against a proposed mining road in central Yukon, citing concerns about potential adverse effects on caribou in the area.

TMM Goldcorp Inc. first submitted the proposal for the Casino-Rude Project in March 2023. The road would be built in a forested area about 100 kilometres west of Pelly Crossing, Yukon, or 380 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse.

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Northern Road Link over a decade away from completion – by Nicole Stoffman (Timmins Daily Press – November 17, 2023)

Concerns raised over impact on wildlife of $1billion project

Concerns about Caribou herds, and sturgeon were conveyed at a public information session for the Northern Road Link on Monday, Nov. 13 at the Best Western Hotel in Timmins. “There’s calving areas and two different herds going through there,” Woodhouse said. “They are very sensitive to noise and sound and any disturbance.”

Qasim Saddique, project co-lead, answered that Caribou monitoring has been ongoing through a collaring program. While collaring, they will take a sample, and if a collared animal dies, they go back and investigate.

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Nunavut communities look to future as Meliadine mine extension hearings wrap up – by Emma Tranter (CBC News North – September 20, 2023)

Participants weigh importance of jobs in small communities with concerns about caribou

After almost a week of technical meetings, communities had their turn to speak at a final public hearing that could determine the future of Nunavut’s Meliadine gold mine, and therefore the entire region.

Agnico Eagle Mines is looking to expand Meliadine near Rankin Inlet, extending the mine’s life by 11 years until 2043 and building 11 wind turbines, among other changes.

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Caribou concerns dominate hearing on Nunavut mine extension – by Emma Tranter (CBC News North – September 18, 2023)

‘The value of Qamanirjuaq herd to Kivalliq Inuit cannot be underestimated’: NTI

The first few days of a final public hearing on a Nunavut mine’s proposal to extend its project heard repeated concerns about how those changes would affect caribou.

The answer to those concerns, for the most part, is unknown. That’s because the project includes a proposal to create a wind farm to power the mine, the first of its kind in Nunavut. Qamanirjuaq caribou in the Kivalliq, as hunters speaking at the hearing pointed out, have never encountered wind turbines.

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Final hearing on future of Meliadine gold mine begins in Rankin Inlet – by Emma Tranter (CBC News North – September 12, 2023)

Agnico Eagle proposes to install wind turbines, extend mine life by 11 years

Meetings on a proposal that could change the future of Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine get underway in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Tuesday. The Nunavut Impact Review board will host technical meetings and a site visit followed by a community roundtable that will run until Sept. 20.

the Meliadine gold mine lies about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet and 80 kilometres southwest of Chesterfield Inlet. It was first approved in 2015. The proposal now under review would extend the life of the mine by 11 years, until 2043.

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Feds say Agnico Eagle has failed to protect caribou at Nunavut gold mine as promised (CBC News North – June 15, 2023)

Company ordered to comply with its permits to operate, or face penalties

The federal government says Agnico Eagle Mines is not doing what it has promised to protect migrating caribou at the Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut.

An order issued last month by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) says the company has failed “on multiple occasions” to meet its obligations under its project certificates for the mine, and under the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act. The order requires the company to comply with its permits to operate or face potential penalties.

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B.C. rejects open-pit mine in caribou habitat. Is this a shift for endangered species? – by Ainslie Cruickshank (The Narwhal – January 10, 2023)

The Narwhal

Southern mountain caribou in B.C. are increasingly rare. Rarer still is a mine project rejected under the province’s environmental assessment process. Yet, that’s just what happened to the Sukunka coal mine proposed by Swiss mining giant Glencore in the Peace River region of northeast B.C.

The mine — which would have operated over a lifespan of 20 years and generated 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal each year from six open pits — was soundly rejected in December, primarily due to its impacts on the endangered Quintette caribou herd.

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Agnico Eagle not doing its part to protect migrating caribou, says Nunavut government (CBC News North – November 8, 2022)

Territorial government asks feds to investigate, says company not meeting obligations at Meadowbank mine

The Nunavut government says Agnico Eagle Mines has reneged on some of its promises to protect migrating caribou near the company’s Meadowbank gold mine complex.

According to the territory’s Environment department, the mining company has failed several times to close roads at the complex when migrating caribou were nearby. That violates the company’s permits to operate and should be investigated, the Government of Nunavut (GN) says.

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The quest to protect Hudson Bay’s unique coastline, one of Canada’s last, best wild places – by Ivan Semeniuk (Globe and Mail – October 11, 2022)

This spectacular landscape is also a lens through which to view Canada’s conservation challenge

Sam Hunter was not prepared for what he saw one morning this past July when he stepped out of his cabin near the shore of Hudson Bay. It was a living tide of caribou – more than 3,000 large animals moving, grunting, foraging and otherwise fully occupying the landscape.

“There were so many. … They were so loud,” said Mr. Hunter, who lives in Peawanuck on northern Ontario’s Winisk River and has worked as a guide in the area for years. “It’s something that I haven’t seen since I was about 10 years old.” The timing could not have been better.

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Feds slammed at Nunavut land use hearing, critics say it favours development over caribou protection – by Jane George (CBC News North – September 28, 2022)

‘These grounds are sacred and need to be respected and protected,’ says Katie Rasmussen

The federal government received pointed criticism for its position on caribou protection under the draft Nunavut Land Use Plan during its presentation Tuesday in Thompson, Man.

Questions from those at the Nunavut Planning Commission hearing saw Spencer Dewar, director of resource management for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, defending the federal government’s position on mineral development, existing rights and conservation under the land use plan.

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Environmentalists not fans of Ottawa and Queen’s Park’s caribou protection plans – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 5, 2022)

Groups call federal environment minister’s collaboration with the province a “betrayal” of a promise to protect caribou habitat

A joint federal and provincial commitment to revive the boreal caribou population in Northern Ontario doesn’t go far enough for some conservation and environmental groups.

A news release penned by the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature, Ecojustice and the Wildlands League said the new agreement will “do more harm than good” for the threatened species which roams mostly in Ontario’s Far North. They collectively say the agreement contains no real commitments or targets to protect or restore caribou habitat.

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Canada has a quarter of world’s soil carbon. Keeping it in the ground could curb climate change, experts say – by Inayat Singh and Alice Hopton (CBC News Science – November 10, 2021)

Canada has 384 billion tonnes carbon stored in peatland and other soils, new study has found

Canada stores about a quarter of the world’s soil carbon, according to a new study that puts a spotlight on the country’s role in protecting that carbon to help prevent further climate change.

Those carbon-rich soils are found especially in peatland: boggy wetlands in northern Ontario and parts of Manitoba that are filled with accumulated plant matter that’s been collecting over thousands of years.

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Could an Indigenous conservation area in Hudson Bay also be the key to saving carbon-rich peatlands? – by Inori Roy (The Narwhal – November 6, 2021)

The Narwhal

The Mushkegowuk Council has been pushing to protect the area in northern Ontario — a major carbon sink the size of Portugal — for decades

Lawrence Martin can’t put a date on when he first heard community Elders call for conservation efforts in James Bay and Hudson Bay — but the interest goes as far back as he can remember.

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Modelling threats to caribou in Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Claire Farrell (Canadian Geographic – October 26, 2021)

For caribou in the far north region of Ontario, there are storm clouds gathering. A recent analysis published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, which I helped to coauthor, projected possible population declines of anywhere from 17 to 30 per cent for northern caribou over the next 50 years.

There are two major factors behind this decline: climate change and expanding resource development, including a race to develop the mineral-rich Ring of Fire area in the Hudson Bay lowlands. These factors will combine to make life a lot more difficult for caribou in multiple ways.

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