January 14th, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada
On January 9th, Le Devoir published an opinion letter signed by Normand Éthier, Gilles Levert and Jacqueline Richer, spokespeople for SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, and opponents of the Canada Carbon graphite mine project. For several months, Canada Carbon and the opponents have been engaged in a written dialogue where each party, encamped on its positions, presents its arguments. Canada Carbon has made an extensive collection of independent scientific and engineering reports on its website at https://www.canadacarbon.com/miller-project-reports. In contrast, representatives of SOSGSLR make serious untrue allegations about the Miller Project generating toxic waste and poisoning water without providing any evidence to be considered. Be that as it may, we feel the need, once again, to answer the authors of this letter. Let's take some of the opponents’ arguments. The following texts in italics and in quotation marks are excerpts from the opponents' January 9th, 2019 letter to Le Devoir.
SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge: "[...] SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge is opposed to the Canada Carbon project and has never been invited to dialogue.”
In fact, Canada Carbon was first invited to attend a private meeting with certain organizers at Thomas Arnold’s home in February 2017. Later that month, Canada Carbon organized public information evenings on the Miller project in the municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge. Several members of SOS GSLR actually participated in these evening information sessions including Jacqueline Richer, Thomas Arnold and Nathalia Czarnecka. An open dialogue was initiated at that time and many individuals availed themselves of the opportunity to discuss the project with the company’s representative, and other independent experts.
In addition, during 2017 and 2018, Canada Carbon distributed several newsletters to all residents of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge to clarify and address specific issues and concerns with residents of GSLR.
Also, in December 2017, Canada Carbon’s CEO sent a letter to Mayor Arnold asking for a meeting to discuss the project and begin dialogue. Mayor Arnold never responded to the letter.
How can one say that Canada Carbon did not try to engage in a dialogue?
SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge: The "open and honest dialogue" with "independent experts" to which Mr. Duncan is calling has a name: this is an investigation by the Bureau of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE).”
BAPE is not the only forum for open and honest dialogue with independent experts. It is the role of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Fight against Climate Change (MDDELCC) to thoroughly review the Miller Project and examine the reports produced by independent experts.
The Miller project is not subject to BAPE hearings. The Government of Quebec has determined that mining projects that process a minimum of 500 tons of ore and more per day require a BAPE review. The Miller mine would process only an average of 388 tons of graphite ore a day. In comparison, the Canadian Malartic mine (a comparison often used by opponents to denounce the "gigantic size" of our project) processes 50,000 tons of ore a day, more than 100 times the proposed Miller Project.
SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge: "What do we have to gain if we do not want this project?”
This is the crux of the problem. SOS GSLR is fiercely against the Miller project and no dialogue, hearings or independent expert opinion, will change their minds. They simply refuse meaningful dialogue.
Finally, on behalf of the people of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Éthier, Levert and Richer list the arguments that justify their opposition to the Miller project. These arguments take the form of assertions about the alleged adverse consequences that will flow from the Miller project. These statements are false or exaggerated and are not based on any scientific analysis or study. Should we, or the citizens of GSLR, just accept their word for it? If they have studies, we would be happy to review them and have constructive discussions about any perceived challenges. Requests in the past to obtain support from GSLR for some of their assertions have gone unanswered.
Mayor Arnold has gone on record to state that he is not opposed to mining projects but is opposed to the approach by Canada Carbon. Once again, Mr. Arnold has not provided any information regarding the aspects of the proposed Miller project he finds unsatisfactory nor does he detail what approach would be acceptable. As Mayor, doesn’t he have an obligation to have a conversation with Canada Carbon to see if compromises or modifications can be reached which would make the Miller Project acceptable?
As we have stated in the past: 1) The Miller project has been modified to protect wetlands. 2) There will be no "toxic waste left on the spot". 3) Our last hydrogeological study, completed in 2017-2018, has shown that impacts of the Miller project on water will not exceed the limits set by MDDELCC. 4) Regarding noise, the residents of GSLR, including those at McGillivray Lake and Camp Amy Molson, should not be disturbed by the mining operations. Our current modeling study meets the MDDELCC standards. Furthermore, Canada Carbon proposes to build acoustic walls and limit hours of operations for certain activities.
We are willing to examine each statement, not in a vacuum, but with the active participation of representatives of the GSLR population. While we are willing to seek the advice of additional independent experts to provide more impartial insight as part of a formal and framed process of public consultation required by the MERN, unfortunately we cannot because, as our opponents have openly stated, they do not want this project and therefore refuse to follow provincial guidelines.
The information and consultation process must be given a chance. Canada Carbon should be given an opportunity to hear the concerns of citizens and to propose solutions. At the end of this process, residents of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge will be in a much better position to understand the project and help us make it better.
CANADA CARBON INC.
“R. Bruce Duncan”
CEO and Director
E-mail inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
P: (604) 685-6375
F: (604) 909-1163