The return of uranium mining to Elliot Lake would be a good thing, commented one faithful reader: “Promoting Elliot Lake as a retirement community will naturally create a community that is opposed to any form of resource extraction. The bad press that the uranium industry generates, whether deserved or not, only leads to more opposition. I have been to Elliot Lake, and while it is a very scenic place, I did not get a feeling of a vibrant, growing community. There were far too man vacant storefronts in the commercial area. Elliot lake needs mining!”
A comment from a reader who works for a mining consultant: “The Town Council of Elliot Lake should be consulted for its view on a return to mining lest the anti-mining lobby simply overwhelm those who favour resource development and maintaining the economic viability of the area. The information that I have indicates that the council strongly favours a return to mining. There is real concern that the town and its services are not sustainable without substantial hand-outs from Government, hand-outs that are not likely to come given the seed money that was pumped into the community when mining ended. The town is on the verge of drying up and blowing away.”
A short comment: “I voted No. I do not live in Elliot Lake, but isn’t that really up to the people who live there?”
Said another reader: “The results of this poll were a foregone conclusion after the B.C. poll result. It is obvious that the anti-mining supporters are monitoring this website. And once again we are going to allow the environmentalists to dictate to our industry.” Editor’s response: “We welcome readers and visitors to the CMJ website from all political leanings, and want to hear all opinions. This is a forum for discussion. The results of our poll are for the information of our staff and our readers, but do not dictate the actions of the mining industry. – Jane Werniuk, editor, CMJ
A number of our readers were not in favour of uranium mining returning to Elliot Lake, such as this one: “I voted ‘NO’ and live in B.C. Our Committee for a Clean Kettle Valley has campaigned for thirty years to prevent the pollution of our Kettle River by uranium miners. We were probably instrumental in convincing the BC Government to ban exploration for and mining of uranium in our province. We have a high level of background radiation and also a high level of lung cancer and we do not wish an increase of either. We also believe that the high level of uranium mining in the Athabasca Basin would not exist if the water from that area flowed into Saskatoon and Regina. It doesn’t. It flows north and east and effects only native communities and they don’t give a damn about a few Cree and Inuit!”
Another short comment: “No, I do not live in Elliot Lake. No, there is adequate uranium already plaguing the world.”
A longer comment from Fred Haavisto of Sault St. Marie, Ont.: “Uranium mining should NOT be restarted in the Elliot Lake area. Too many people have already suffered from the contamination and the contamination that is yet to come from the landfills and lake-fills that will leak or break. Native people have suffered more as their original livelihood consisted of hunting, fishing and gathering and the plants and animals have now also been contaminated (poisoned).
Proponents of nuclear [energy] have always declared how safe nuclear energy is, and how clean it is. Why have we had the serious accidents and close-calls? Was it due to carelessness or operator error as the excuse that is so often given for air disasters? No adequate solution has yet been found for spent nuclear materials, and until such as time as a foolproof method is instituted, the use of uranium should be curtailed, or strictly controlled.
“As was the reason for the closure of the Elliot Lake uranium mines, that the ore was too low quality and therefore too costly, would that same reasoning not apply today? If the mining, extraction and purification of uranium is so necessary, then leave those projects for the areas where the operation is less costly.
“Do we really need uranium for the generation of electricity via the establishment of nuclear plants? There seemingly are alternatives that have been proven (and of which the cost/benefits are being improved) that could be established much faster, and at a much cheaper cost per kilowatt or megawatt than nuclear. AND there are environmental costs associated with nuclear energy. As per Richard Ottinger for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy, the “Environmental Costs of Energy” for nuclear is $0.033/kWh (coal ranging for $0.029 to $0.066/kWh; natural gas $0.008 to $0.012/kWh; and biomass ranging from $0.000 to $0.005/kWh).
“If nuclear energy is to be instituted, then facilities should be established close to the areas where that energy is needed not somewhere far in northern Ontario. Line losses during long-distance transmission are horrendous and must be included in the equation.”