17 June 2008

Sixteen Lakes slated to be Mine Dumps

From a CBC report, we learned yesterday that sixteen lakes around the periphery of Canada are slated to be turned into mine dumps.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."

Since the introduction of Schedule Two ... in 2002, 16 lakes have been proposed for reclassification as tailings dumps. Four of the 16 are already being used as dumps — all in Newfoundland. Two of those are at the Duck Pond Mine and the other two are older mines due to be brought under Schedule Two retroactively.

This map (PDF), provided on the CBC website, prompts this cynic to ask: Is it mere coincidence that vote-rich Ontario and Quebec, and Conservative-rich Alberta are not included in the hit list?

There is, of course, a further question: Why don't we just stop consuming so much junk and recycle materials already in circulation?

The cynical answer to that question is: To enhance the bottom line of mining companies.

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