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Battery and contaminated water sector: Citizens begin independent environmental monitoring of the NMG-Pallinghurst mining company

Site minier NMG-Pallinghurst (Mai 2022, crédit COPH)

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday June 16, 2022, Montreal/Saint-Michel-des-Saints – Citizens supported by environmental organizations announce the start of independent environmental monitoring of the Matawinie project of the mining company Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG-Pallinghurst), which targets the battery market. They made this announcement while participating in the company's annual shareholder meeting today.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that citizens have decided to take it upon themselves to do their own sampling of water quality and aquatic ecosystems around a mining site in Quebec,” says Rodrigue Turgeon of MiningWatch. Canada and co-spokesperson for the Coalition Québec Meilleur Mine.

“On the ground, we are seeing more and more deforestation and infrastructure that retains contaminated water of which we know neither the composition nor the origin,” underlines Paul Comeau of the Citizen Coalition opposed to a mining project in Haute-Normandie. Matawinie (COPH). “This concerns us greatly because we do not see any water treatment plant and all the water from the mining site eventually flows towards the village and the Lac Taureau Regional Park. There are also domestic wells around.”

Exasperated by the self-monitoring system of mining companies in Quebec and by the absence of independent inspectors on the ground, citizens decided to take water and sediment samples themselves in half a dozen courses of water since October 2021. The results of these samples will be made public later this year in a report prepared by the Society to Conquer Pollution (SVP), in collaboration with MiningWatch Canada and the Coalition Québec Meilleur Mine. Citizens also reveal previously unseen photos of the mining site taken in May 2022:

Quebec questioned and requests for access to information

“It’s not normal that simple citizens like us have to take samples to check the quality of our environment,” says Daniel Tokatéloff of the Association for the Protection of Lake Taureau (APLT). “The Ministry of the Environment must play its role as watchdog of the public interest. And the mining company that says it wants to produce “green” graphite for “green” batteries must be much more transparent with its environmental data.”

Rébecca Pétrin of Eau Secours adds: “Nearly 18 months (539 days) after receiving its authorization decree, the mining company has still not responded to several of the environmental conditions that were nevertheless required by the government, including a program monitoring and more in-depth studies on the risks of water contamination linked to the management of mining waste”.

Yesterday, the organizations sent a series of requests for access to information as well as a letter to Mr. Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MELCC), demanding greater transparency and monitoring of the NMG-Pallinghurst mining site. More specifically, the organizations are requesting follow-ups regarding six of the conditions issued in the government decree in January 2021 aimed at water protection, namely:

  • Condition 3: “a report stating the results of all research and tests supporting the concept of co-disposition […] of the mining tailings accumulation area […] while ensuring the protection of groundwater »;
  • Condition 4: “a quality assurance program for the construction of the accumulation area and the deposition of mining tailings”;
  • Condition 5: “revise the hydrogeological modeling and the study of the transport of contaminants […] to ensure the protection of groundwater” and to “confirm that the disposal of potentially acid-generating mining residues in the pit can be done while ensuring the protection of water resources”;
  • Conditions 10 and 11: “a document presenting the final areas of wetland and water loss” and “measures that will be taken to compensate for the loss of fish habitat in order to achieve the objective of no net loss of fish habitat”;
  • Condition 14: “a monitoring program as well as a monitoring table of all the commitments made […] and publish on its website a monitoring table of the commitments which will make it possible to observe the implementation of the actions”.

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Source :
MiningWatch Canada

For information :

About Coalition Québec Meilleur Mine

Coalition So that Quebec looks better! was created in the spring of 2008 and is today made up of around thirty organizations, including Fondation Rivières, representing more than 250,000 members in Quebec. The coalition's mission is to review the way in which the mining sector is managed and developed in Quebec, in order to harmonize its activities with the community and promote best practices on a social and environmental level.

Photo: COPH

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