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CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES: Conservationist urges mining to promote understanding

The following appeared in a recent issue of the ONTARIO MINING ASSOCIATION's (OMA) newsletter (www.OMA.on.ca):



The following appeared in a recent issue of the ONTARIO MINING ASSOCIATION’s (OMA) newsletter (www.OMA.on.ca):

At the Ontario Mining Association’s Meet the Miners event [earlier in March at Queen’s Park in Toronto], guest speaker and leading environmentalist Monte Hummel encouraged the mining industry to build its fan base. Mr. Hummel, president emeritus of the WORLD WILDLIFE FUND CANADA, co-founder of POLLUTION PROBE and author, while sporting a prominent green “Keep Mining in Canada” button, reminded the audience that we do need to keep mining in Canada and that the industry needs to build a broader base of understanding and support.

“I am all for a profitable, responsible mining industry in Canada,” he said. “The question should not be should mining exist – the question should be under what terms and conditions should the industry operate.” Mr. Hummel provided a number of examples of successes, which have been achieved when the mining sector and responsible environmental organizations co-operate.

He presented four issues, which he believes conservationists and miners can solve together. On the first issue of land access, he believes that industry needs to accept some level of conservation, and that conservationists need to accept mining where it is supported by local communities. He thinks both sides can identify areas where conflicts can be minimized.

The second issue he spoke about was the inherent conflict that miners believe mineral development is the highest principle of land use while environmentalists don’t necessarily agree. While he would like miners to gain a better appreciation that conservation under certain circumstances could be the highest value land use, he also would like environmentalists to better appreciate the benefits of mining. He believes that since mining takes up such a small area of the province (about 0.03% in Ontario), surely both groups can work side by side.

The third issue Mr. Hummel tackled was that collectively the mining industry, First Nations and conservationists are the victims of poor land use planning by governments. He would like governments to avoid future conflicts by stopping the practice of telling two groups they have rights on the same lands.

The fourth main issue he addressed was the Mining Act. Mr. Hummel feels the act is outdated and needs to be reviewed. For the record, the last time the Mining Act underwent a review was in the 1990s with the main changes at that time being related to mine closure plans and financial assurance to complete those plans.

Mr. Hummel thanked the OMA for the invitation to speak at the event and mused that he would like the conservation and environmental communities to return the favour. In conclusion, he encouraged the mining industry in dealing with the issues he outlined to “get ahead of the curve and show leadership to resolve the problems.”

(Editor’s note – Monte Hummel may be contacted at mhummel@wwfcanada.org or 416-489-4567 ext 7223.)


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