Mining companies and Aboriginal communities should note the
upcoming Regulations Amending the Metal Mining Effluent
Regulations. The proposed amendments would allow the Detour Lake
Gold Mine to use four water bodies for tailings impoundment when
the capacity of existing tailings and waste rock disposal areas is
reached beginning in 2019. The proposed amendments were published
in the Canada Gazette Part I on February 8, 2014, for a 30-day
public comment period, which ended on March 10, 2014.
Also noteworthy are Environment Canada's plans to
streamline the approvals process for metal mines with Tailings
Impoundment Areas by exempting future requests to add water bodies
to Schedule 2 of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations from
publication in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette.
Detour Lake Gold Mine is an open pit gold mine and ore milling
facility located approximately 145 km northeast of Cochrane,
Ontario, and 8 km west of the Ontario-Quebec border. The mine is
located within the overlapping traditional territories of the Moose
Cree First Nation, the Taykwa Tagamou Nation, the Wahgoshing First
Nation and the Métis Nation of Ontario.
Detour Gold Corporation proposes a fish habitat compensation
plan that would construct a pond in a nearby wetland to preserve
attributes and ecosystem functions similar to the infilled
The proposed amendments are required if the mine is permitted to
develop as planned.
The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) under the federal
Fisheries Act came into force on December 6, 2002. The
MMER require mining operations to limit the concentrations of
specified deleterious substances in effluent and to prohibit the
discharge of effluent that is acutely lethal to fish. They also
permit Fisheries and Oceans Canada to approve the use of natural
water bodies frequented by fish for mine waste disposal. This is
done by adding the identified water bodies to Schedule 2 of the
MMER by amendment. The proponent of a successful amendment must
also develop, implement and monitor a fish habitat compensation
plan to offset the resulting habitat loss, and submit an
irrevocable letter of credit to cover the plans implementation
Detour Gold Corporation seeks to add to Schedule 2 of the MMER
four natural water bodies in Ontario that are frequented by
one pond and a portion of a creek for expanded tailings
the portions of two other creeks for expanded waste rock
It also proposes a fish habitat compensation plan that would
result in a 0.13 hectare gain in fish habitat through the
construction of a pond in a nearby wetland.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conducted a
comprehensive study of the proposal and its alternatives as part of
the federal environmental assessment process under the former
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Other options for
both tailings and waste rock disposal were considered, but were
considered not viable due to disadvantages including increased
hauling distances, higher dams and water management infrastructure
Streamlining TIA Approvals
Note that Environment Canada proposes to streamline the
Approvals Process for Metal Mines with Tailings Impoundment Areas
(TIA). Environment Canada plans to exempt future requests to add
water bodies to Schedule 2 from publication in Part 1 of the Canada
Gazette if the federal government has concluded that, based on an
environmental assessment and taking into account mitigation
measures, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse
Conditions for exemption would also include
public and stakeholder comments on the water body listed
an assessment of alternatives to the proposed TIA
considering costs and public comments
consultations on the fish habitat compensation plan
any other information considered relevant to facilitate the
regulatory process, and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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