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Rossland council seeks Record Ridge environmental assessment

Save Record Ridge lobbies Rossland council to ask Ministy to push for mining assessment
A view of Record Ridge.

Rossland council will send a letter to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (Ministry) asking for an environmental assessment on the proposed Record Ridge Industrial Mineral Mining Project (Project).

Save Record Ridge Action Committee (SRR) member Nils French approached Rossland council on Monday, Feb. 5 asking that council lobby the Ministry to have the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) undertake an official environmental assessment on the proposed Project.

“The EAO has simple but crucial requirements, a request has to be made to the minister,” said French. “Despite numerous submissions sent to the EAO by Rossland, area residents and others, a specific request for the project to be designated as reviewable has not been explicitly made.”

West High Yield Resources (WHY) has submitted two applications to the Ministry, the latest what the committee says it considers an effort to avoid the assessment.

The recent application classifies the mine as a stone/mineral quarry with a production of less than 200,000 tonnes per year.

In a letter to executive director of the EAO Chris Trumpy, the WHY Project CEO, Frank Marasco Jr., describes the mine’s impact as “minimal.”

“Unlike more complex processes associated with metal mining, the Project’s proposed operations pose minimal environmental impact, aligning with the characteristics of an industrial mineral mine.”

For ‘mineral’ mines in BC, a mandatory environmental assessment is triggered when the proposed production exceeds 75,000 tonnes per year, whereas for ‘industrial mineral’ mines, the threshold for mandatory environmental assessment is much higher at 250,000 tonnes per year.

“WHY has applied for their magnesium mine to be categorized as an industrial mineral mine with a production of 200,000 tonnes per year,” said French. “If they are successful, the mine will not require an environmental assessment as it will be under the threshold of 250,000 tonnes per year.”

The action committee has requested that the Ministry categorize the project as a mineral mine and not as an industrial mineral mine or quarry.

“Our concern is if the EAO rules against us on categorization, the project would be deemed not reviewable, this is below the threshold, and would go ahead without environmental assessment,” said French.

The SSR member then requested that Rossland council throw it’s weight behind a request to the Ministry for the assessment.

Later in the meeting, Rossland Mayor Andy Morel put forth a motion to send a letter.

“We have a specific ask of the Environmental Assessment Office that they do consider a robust environmental assessment of that project,” said Morel.

Coun. Stewart Spooner, Rossland’s representative on the Mining Development Review Committee (MDRC), emphasized that “the environmental assessment is really on more technical criteria, and the Mine Development Review Committee is not well set up for this process but does include public consultation and consideration of everything from transporation to residents’ concerns.”

The motion passed unanimously.

French urges residents to “add your voice to ours by reaching out to representatives in the Provincial Government to express your concerns on this matter.

“We expect that the decision on categorization will be made in the coming days or weeks.”

The next Mining Development Review Committee meeting on the proposed Record Ridge project is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Jim Bailey

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