Save Sandy Pond
On March 22, the Sandy Pond Alliance, a coalition that includes the Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mining Watch Canada, and The Council of Canadians and Sierra Club, launched a legal challenge questioning the use of the Fisheries Act to authorize the destruction of Sandy Pond and other waterbodies across the country, converting them to waste dumps for mines and mineral processing plants.
Sandy Pond, located on the south side of Long Harbour in Placentia Bay (located approximately 127 km from St. John's) is one of sixteen water bodies in Canada slated to become a dumps for mining and mineral processing wastes. According to the assessment document accepted by Newfoundland and Labrador's Ministry of Environment and Conservation, Sandy Pond is to be damned as a receptacle for wastes from a nickel processing plant, the Inco Hydrometallurgical (Hydromet) Processing Plant.
The proposed plant will cost $800 million to build and will process approximately 110 million pounds of nickel, five million pounds of cobalt, and 15 million pounds of copper, and is part of the large Voisy's Bay mining project.
The proposed nickel processing project may have severe and lasting environmental impacts, including:
- destruction of Sandy Pond for the disposal of 381,000 tonnes per year of nickel processing waste, including sulphur (approximately 60,000 tonnes per year), copper, and nickel;
- effluent totaling 3 million cubic metres per year will be discharged to the marine environment; - during normal operations, 600 cubic metres (600,000 litres) per hour of water will be drawn from Rattling Brook Big Pond;
- increased risk of accidents and displacement of fishers from traditional fishing grounds caused by increased vessel traffic Placentia Bay. With proposed projects such as a new refinery, proposed LNG trans-shipment facility, and this nickel processing plant, Placentia Bay will receive over 1300 vessels per year, or an average of 7 ship transits per day.
Three Steps to Help Save Sandy Pond
1. Donate Now to Sierra Club AtlanticAs part of the Sandy Pond Alliance, we will make sure your support goes toward our legal battle to Save Sandy Pond - and lakes and rivers across the country! We intend to make our arguments in court this fall in St. John's, NL, but we can't do it without your help! You can donate online (specify it is for Sandy Pond!) or call us at (902) 444-3113.
2. Contact the Federal Fisheries Minister
Using Sandy Pond as a waste dump requires a change in federal regulations pertaining to mine wastes, called the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. Allowing Sandy Pond to become a tailings pond for metal processing plant will destroy this water body and lead the way for the destruction of lakes and rivers across the country. What is more, this will stretch the regulations to include mining processing plants, not just mines - which expands the number of water-bodies placed in jeopardy and the number of chemical that may be dumped into them once they are allowed to become waste dumps.
Contact the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Honourable Gail Shea and your MP to express your concern that the federal government is attempting to change the rules to benefit mining companies rather than protect our most precious common resource: water.
Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
To find the address for your MP, click here.
For more details on the national implications, please go here.
2. Contact Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Leaders
Provincially and nationally, we are at a turning point: do we destroy our freshwater resources or do we protect them?
1. Contact Newfoundland's Minister of Environment and Conservation, Honourable Charlene Johnson, and provincial party leaders and ask them to pull the plug on using lakes, ponds, and rivers as waste dumps.
Ask them to consider how we can continue to pollute and ask future generations to clean up our mess, and ask why Vale Inco is not being required to meet a higher standard for keeping the environment clean and safe?
Ask why we don't require mining companies to seek out alternatives to using lakes and rivers as waste dumps, such as constructing safe impoundment areas and providing incentives to reduce waste from mining and mineral processing industries?
The Honourable Charlene Johnson, NL Minister of Environment and Conservation
Phone: (709) 729-2574
Fax: (709) 729-0112
Kelvin Parsons, NL Liberal Party Leader
Toll Free: 1-800-518-9479
Phone: (709) 729-0434
Fax: (709) 729-5202, email@example.com
Lorraine Michael, NL NDP Party Leader
Phone: (709) 729-0270
Fax: (709) 576-1443