The Tyee on Turning Healthy, Fish-bearing Lakes into Mining Tailings Ponds


Read this story from on the use of a loophole int he Fisheries Act, called Schedule 2, that enables mining companies to turn healthy lakes into “tailing impoundment areas” for waste rock and tailings – saving them millions of dollars int he process.(March 23, 2012)

Under the little-known Schedule 2 of The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations, healthy wild lakes are being reclassified as “tailings impoundment areas.” The effluent regulations were created to protect Canadian waters, not destroy them. When the Liberal government revised the regulations in 2002, Schedule 2 was a last-minute grandfather clause to legitimize five already-polluted lakes.


Since 2006, the Harper government has used Schedule 2 to sanction the destruction of no less than eight healthy, wild lakes or water bodies, and grandfathered another six already-polluted ones. Mining companies stand to gain enormous cost savings via Schedule 2 “exceptions.” No need to build expensive tailings containments from scratch if the government will let you just dump your industrial waste in a nearby lake and be done with it.


Bizarrely, the mining industry would have Canadians believe that purposely destroying pure Canadian lakes is somehow environmentally responsible. Natural lakes make “safer” containments, they argue, than any structure they could build. This cynical doublespeak merely clouds the ugly truth — that Schedule 2 is a quick and dirty means to profit.

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