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Miclash challenges ministers to support northwestern mine.

A provincial showdown is brewing in the battle between gold mining and drinking water at a northwestern Ontario lake near the Manitoba border.

Consolidated Professor Mines wants to start production at its Duport gold project on Shoal Lake. The only hitch so far is a formal and extensive environmental assessment (EA) process which has never before been conducted on a gold mine proposal.

But this is not an average gold mining project. Shoal Lake provides the drinking water for the city of Winnipeg.

The environmental assessment was initiated by the previous Liberal government in Ontario in response to pressure from the federal government and the Manitoba legislature.

Consolidated Professor president Dick Dunlop says he is frustrated by the bureaucratic process, charging that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has prematurely disclosed confidential information. The Ontario government has received a draft of Consolidated Professor's EA report.


"We are asking the government to examine the report on a confidential basis until it identifies any discrepancies. Hopefully the government will not release only a partial report as it did last time," says Dunlop. "We feel we have all the bases covered in this impact report. There's no reason the project can't go ahead."

Consolidated Professor has spent $21 million on the project over the past 30 years, completing exploration, feasibility studies and now EA reports. Underground development and exploration indicate mineral reserves of two million tons grading at .35 ounces of gold per ton of ore.

Kenora Liberal MPP Frank Miclash is pushing for the gold mining project, located in his riding, and Dunlop has also met with Ontario Premier Bob Rae.

"I met with Premier Rae and he was receptive to the project," says Dunlop.

"The people of my constituency cannot afford to let the Shoal Lake EA process be delayed in any way," says Miclash. "I am challenging the minister of Native Affairs and especially the Minister of Northern Development and Mines to stand up and be counted on this vital issue."

The project also has the support of two Shoal Lake Native bands, says Dunlop. The mine site is located east of the Native reserve lands, which surround the Winnipeg water intake.

"We're working on an agreement which will include our commitment to provide training for Native employees and to other services offered by the bands. They will also have a strong voice in environmental monitoring and will review the environmental assessment of the project on their own," says Dunlop.

A complete EA takes an average of two years to complete in Ontario. Consolidated Professor is pushing for an expeditious process with the backing of Miclash, but political realities dictate that a conclusion will not be soon forthcoming.

The company's feasibility study estimates $53 million will be spent to get the project off the ground, including construction of a 450-ton-per-day mill.

Consolidated Professor expects the mine will produce 50,000 ounces of gold annually. Dunlop says the mine could have a profit of up to $25 million per year, with $10 million in expenditures to be injected into the local economy annually after start-up.

The company says about 175 new jobs will be created by the project, with one-quarter of the workforce coming from the two Shoal Lake Native bands.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mining Report; member of the Provincial Parliament Frank Miclash; gold mining project in Shoal Lake
Author:Costea, Thom
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Mining municipalities get the opportunity to prove their case for more tax dollars.
Next Article:Kidd Creek research turns waste into new products.

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