A federal environmental assessment of Marathon PGM's proposed mine in northern Ontario started on April 16, 2010. The project is currently undergoing a comprehensive assessment, though concerned organisations, including MiningWatch, and local citizens have been pushing for a more rigorous panel review of the project.
The main concern about the project is that one of two proposed tailings management options would have 61 million cubic metres of mine waste dumped into Bamoos Lake. Bamoos Lake is a deep, cold water lake with a naturally sustaining lake trout population. It is used as both an aboriginal and recreational fishery.
Marathon PGM's president has been stating publicly that using Bamoos Lake as a mine waste dump would not kill the lake. In a May 2010 article in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald he suggests that "it would change it from a cold water fishery to a warm water one, which means you‘d have walleye instead of lake trout." Such an assertion is highly speculative, not based on science or experience and ignores the unique and important features of the lake as it has existed for thousands of years.
Destroying Bamoos Lake could be authorised through a regulatory amendment to Schedule 2 of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations of the Fisheries Act. Since 2006 six lakes have been authorized as waste dumps through this process and many more are at risk across Canada. This is the first proposal for a Schedule 2 amendment in Ontario.
- Local residents have organised a group to oppose the destruction of the lake. Citizens for a Responsible Mine in Marathon have a blog and can be found on facebook.
- This project is being run through the federal government's Major Project Management Office (MPMO). You can find project documents and status updates on the MPMO website.
- Download MiningWatch's letter (PDF) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recommending the project be "bumped up" to a panel review.
- Find Bamoos Lake on Google Maps.