OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 24, 2022 /CNW/ – Following a thorough and science-based environmental assessment conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency), the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has agreed with the conclusions in the Agency’s Environmental Assessment Report that determined the proposed Valentine Gold Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account. The project is therefore allowed to proceed with strict measures to protect the environment. Local Indigenous communities also participated as part of the Agency’s process, and provided input that helped inform the Agency’s work.
The project consists of the construction, operation, decommissioning and reclamation of a gold mine with two open-pits and associated infrastructure, located about 55 kilometres southwest of Millertown, in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project would operate for 13 years and produce gold doré that would be shipped by truck to refiners.
According to figures provided by the proponent, the project will contribute an estimated $1.3 billion in income to workers and businesses within Canada. Of that estimated income, $750 million will go directly towards workers and businesses within Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposed project could also create up to 404 jobs during construction and 426 jobs during operations over the life of the project.
Canadians expect the Government of Canada to take meaningful action to protect the environment while supporting economic growth, not just for today, but for future generations. This is why the Decision Statement issued today by the Minister establishes 133 conditions the proponent must comply with throughout the life of the project. These conditions include measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, species at risk like the woodland caribou, air and water quality, human health and Indigenous peoples’ use of resources.
For example, to ensure the woodland caribou population is protected, the proponent must take certain precautions before project construction begins. Marathon Gold Corporation must identify time periods during which project activities are less likely to negatively impact the species, and conduct project activities during those times. The proponent must also place emphasis on avoiding the destruction or alteration of woodland caribou habitat. Furthermore, the proponent will be responsible for developing and implementing a follow-up program in order to verify the accuracy and effectiveness of the mitigation measures aimed to protect fish and fish habitat.
As per the Impact Assessment Act, the Agency will enforce the conditions in the Decision Statement before and during construction, and over the course of all project operations. Failure by Marathon Gold Corporation to comply with these conditions is a violation of federal law. Any proposed changes to the project will need to be considered through an amendment process to determine if they can proceed.
The proponent can now proceed with obtaining any additional authorizations and permits from federal departments. This includes an approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Fisheries Act.
- The Agency engaged with two Indigenous groups who could potentially be impacted by the project throughout the environmental assessment, the Miawpukek First Nation and Qalipu First Nation. A total of $24,600.00 of funding was allocated to support their participation in the various steps of the review.
- Dozens of experts from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as many federal departments participated in the process by providing robust scientific advice and technical expertise throughout the project’s review. These departments include Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada and Health Canada.
- The project was subject to a provincial environmental assessment under the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Environmental Assessment Regulations, 2003. In March 2022, the project was approved by the province subject to conditions.
- Minister’s Environmental Assessment Decision Statement (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Environmental Assessment Report (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Valentine Gold Project (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Basics of Environmental Assessment (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
SOURCE Impact Assessment Agency of Canada