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Prospectors fear impact of new environmental laws, Kasner says mining firms are more welcome in Chile.

Prospectors fear impact of new environmental laws, Kasner says mining firms are more welcome in Chile

Junior mining companies and prospectors don't feel they should be the targets of federal environmental legislation now in the development process.

Basically, they feel their activities are not environmental hazards.

And, unlike large corporations such as Inco, which can spend millions of dollars reducing its sulphur dioxide emissions, smaller players say they can't afford to spend big bucks.

Robert Ginn, president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), said prospecting is a "rather benign" activity, although he admits that, at times, some individuals have misbehaved.

While he admitted there are opportunities for abuse in diamond drilling, he said the operation has become more environmentally conscious.

"Exploration is a non-destructive activity," he said, explaining that technology has gotten ahead of the problems of former years. "The sins of the past simply won't recur."

On March 29, then environment minister Lucien Bouchard unveiled the first phase of the federal government's Green Plan, A National Challenge.

The document, subtitled a A Framework for Discussion on the Environment, provides background information, asks Canadians 40 questions and urges the public to become involved in the consultation process leading to new legislation.

Ginn observed that the discussion paper is non-specific. "There's really nothing in it one can disagree with."

From his reading of it, he said, "We don't see anything there that is a threat to the industry."

However, Ginn said he has some concern about the specific laws that will result from the process.

In addition, he believes that the consultation process of workshops and briefings is insufficient, adding that the government appears to have a sense of urgency concerning the legislation.

He warned that such a major undertaking can't be rushed into. "They need time for balanced discussion."


Kirkland Lake's Robert Kasner, president of Greater Lenora Resources Corp. and RJK Mineral Corp., said he heard an explanation of the discussion paper at a PDAC meeting, but he doesn't have much to say about it.

"I don't react to it," he commented. "I'm doing most of my work in Chile now."

In that South American country, mining firms are welcomed, Kasner explained.

In Canada, however, he believes smaller companies are going to find it harder to do anything because of environmental regulations, pointing to the new Ontario Mining Act as an example.

Under that act, directors of companies could be fined $30,000 for environmental violations, he noted. "You wonder why you would want to do it any more."

The largest polluters in the country are cities, but Toronto's Mayor Art Eggleton isn't fined, noted Kasner.

He believes that eventually small companies will not be able to put mines into production.

"Everybody is of the opinion that it is just a matter of time until everything will come to a standstill."

It is possible to start a mine without violating any environmental protection laws, but the expense of such things as environmental assessments is too much, he said.

He also noted that, if a citizen decides to object to a mine, the mine owner has to pay all that person's expenses for fighting the development.

Kasner stressed that no one in the mining industry wants to plunder the environment.


Garry Clark, chairman of the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association, said, "I think the industry is pretty environmentally aware."

While Clark doesn't think the industry should be a target, he expects some additional controls to result from the consultation process.

The problem is that the industry is misunderstood by the public, he explained, noting that exploration is no longer being conducted as in the 1930s when no one understood the effects on the environment.

The Framework for Discussion on the Environment forms the basis of the discussions during the consultation process.

It is meant to stimulate further thought and discussions of environmental issues and their possible solutions.
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Title Annotation:Gold Mining Report; Robert Kasner
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Previous Article:Queenston reports drilling programs on five properties.
Next Article:Prospectors hardest hit by escalating interest rates.

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