An open pit gold mine is being proposed along the banks of the St. Mary’s River, near the community of Sherbrooke. If the mine were to go ahead it could impact pristine river habitat, and is counterproductive to the community’s efforts to restore the past damage to the river while trying to creating an eco-tourism draw to the area.
All the water courses in the area end up in the river. Water used by the proposed mine will be pulled from the river system, and runoff from the site could contain toxins such as arsenic, mercury, and other heavy metals, posing a direct threat to the fish and other wildlife of the river. Chemical spills and leaching from other gold mines have contaminated rivers so badly that they may never recover.
Trucks carrying ore from the site to a processing facility further down the Eastern Shore will increase road traffic, adding to this source of mortality for wildlife, and adding a health and safety risk to the people of the area. It is unacceptable to endanger the aquatic species, groundwater, tourism, and quality of life in the small community of St Mary’s.
The St. Mary’s River hosts 4 federally and provincially listed Species at Risk, all of which would be threatened by the mine. The St Mary’s River contains some of the last unspoiled habitat available for these species, and this habitat is right beside the proposed mine site! The St. Mary’s River Association, working with partners, have spent over a million dollars on Atlantic salmon recovery efforts, and this work is finally helping salmon return to the river. Let’s not let this work be in vain!
There is no doubt that folks in rural areas like St. Mary’s need jobs. It seems like we have all been waiting for a boost to our small community’s economy for years, but the few jobs this temporary mine project could bring are not worth the high, everlasting price of contaminating the river. We need to find long term solutions to our economic problems that build on the natural features the St. Mary’s amazingly still has, and not go after short term benefits that come at a very large cost. Progress should not be at the expense of our community’s water, and the vision the community has crafted for a future that centers on a healthy river, Atlantic salmon recovery, and Eco-tourism.
Scott Beaver on behalf of the St. Mary’s River Association has been traveling to various communities in the district making a presentation on the concerns and risks associated with the proposed Cochrane Hill Gold Mine.
View a copy of the NOPE Campaign Presentation (PPT, 9MB)
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Click on this link to view a summary document of our concerns. You can print this and share the information with your family, friends and neighbors. Our concerns are their concerns.
Want to know more about Acid Mine Drainage? Click here for an article from the US Environmental Protection Agency.