Feds not holding mining companies accountable for environmental impacts: watchdog – National

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Ottawa is maintaining applicable monitor of how Canada’s mining trade releases effluent into the nation’s waterways, says the federal surroundings commissioner.

However in an audit launched Tuesday, Julie Gelfand discovered that no person’s answerable for fixing issues when they’re found.

“When environmental results have been discovered, there was no requirement on anyone’s half to truly must do something,” stated Gelfand. “No one really appears to must cope with the problem.”


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The audit discovered different gaps as properly.

Atmosphere Canada didn’t have sufficient info for about one-third of Canada’s metallic mines to know what was occurring. The division accomplished solely two-thirds of its deliberate inspections for non-metals operations reminiscent of coal or oilsands mines.

As properly, the division solely monitored about 60 per cent of the plans that firms filed to compensate for fish habitat misplaced to tailings ponds.

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“Consequently, the division didn’t at all times know whether or not the mining firms carried out their deliberate actions to offset the lack of fish and their habitat,” the audit says.

Gelfand’s report says potash, coal and oilsands mines needs to be topic to extra frequent inspections. She additionally raises issues concerning the decrease general variety of mine inspections in Ontario.

Results of the audit’s suggestions could possibly be far-reaching.


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A 2017 report from Atmosphere Canada discovered three-quarters of mines that did research on the environmental penalties of their operations discovered not less than one influence. Half these mines discovered results on fish and their habitat.

All the results have been thought of sturdy sufficient to be environmentally dangerous.

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The identical report acknowledged about 75 per cent of the mines that checked discovered diminished biodiversity amongst bugs that fish eat. About half the mines checked out discovered impacts close to the location and much afield.

Tailings ponds are additionally a rising concern.

Along with the huge ponds at Alberta’s oilsands, the variety of water our bodies the place effluent could also be saved has grown virtually tenfold since 2006 to 46 from 5.


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The federal government has accepted the audit’s suggestions.

Atmosphere Canada has promised to develop choices by subsequent spring for the way to clear up issues. Fisheries and Oceans acknowledged its efforts to maintain monitor of tailings ponds have fallen brief and stated it could beef up monitoring by subsequent April.

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