Reed Mine open house
Hudbay's Jay Cooper addresses Snow Lake open house, as AECOM's Cliff Samoiloff looks on.
Volumne 17, Issue 05-Underground Press Newspaper
Snow Lake Manitoba - February 28.2013 Written by Editor Marc Jackson
~ photo by Marc Jackson
Hudbay and AECOM Technology Corporation held a Public Consultation Open House on the Reed Copper Project at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of February 11th, in the Lawrie Marsh Hall. To look at the empty chairs in the hall, one would think that there is no controversy at all over this project. Even though a week prior to the open house, the Manitoba based Wilderness Committee issued a news release calling into question the building of a mine in a Provincial Park, and the Mathias Colomb First Nation protested several weeks before in respect to the operation of another Hudbay Mine in an area (which they say is located on their traditional land). Add to this, a common feeling within the community that residents should be apprised of any and all industrial development in the area, and it certainly makes one wonder why - other than Hudbay and AECOM representatives - there were only four other people in attendance.
Nevertheless, the consultation went forward as if there were a full house and presenters Jay Cooper who is the Assistant Environmental Superintendent for Hudbay, AECOM Environmental Lead Cliff Samoiloff, and Lead Assessor Somia Sadiq were thorough in their management of the event, as well as their consultation before, during, and after the session. Cooper was first to speak and gave an explanation of the process, noting that they were there to discuss the environmental assessment of the Reed Mine and that public consultation and input was an aspect of the process. He began by giving an overview of mining and the company’s presence in the Flin Flon and Snow Lake camps since the 1920’s for the former and 1950’s for the latter.
Cooper related that the mine is projected to hold 2.16 million tonnes of copper ore and at full production will produce 1,300 tonnes per day, all of which will be extricated and hauled directly by truck to Flin Flon for processing. The mine has an approximate life of five years – beginning in 2013, and will provide 88 jobs at full production. Cooper also laid out the location of the mine, which is about 80 km from Snow Lake and about 150 metres off of the highway, in the Grass River Provincial Park. It is accessed by way of an existing logging road, which is about 1.5 km long.
In talking about the Grass River Park, Cooper disclosed that it is a natural park and categorized for resource management. From Manitoba Government literature, a natural park preserves areas of a natural region to accommodate a diversity of recreational opportunities and resource uses. The resource management category permits commercial resource development or extraction in a manner that does not compromise the main purpose of the park classification.
Continuing on, Cooper showed a number of topographical slides, which displayed the layout of the mine and its position within the park and in respect to the highway. He also provided an overview of past exploration in the area and laid out how the deposit was discovered. He then went over work done to date on the advanced exploration project (AEP) and spoke of the mine closure plan that was accepted by the Provincial Mines Branch on October 31, 2011.
In preparing the site for the AEP, it was revealed that just seven hectares of land were cleared and wood that was felled and deemed burnable was then bucked up and donated to the camping areas within the park. Cooper pointed out that the area between the mine and the road is still well treed and that in addition to providing a sound barrier it is aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, blocks of trees were left within the mine site itself, as was much of the natural limestone cover. It was also explained that waste rock brought to surface will be environmentally managed while there and then used as backfill in the mine upon closure.
The mine’s ore will be accessed by a 2000 metre long ramp descending at a 15% grade, with a bulk sample extracted from three zones prior to production. The three zones of the mine are numbered from surface down as Zone 30, Zone 20, and Zone 10, with 200 metres of ramp developed to date. The lay of the orebody lends itself well to a longhole stope mining method. Cooper ended his portion of the presentation at this point and handed things over to AECOM’s Cliff Samoiloff.
Samoiloff began explaining that other than it being in a Provincial Park, Reed was easy to develop from an operational and environmental standpoint. "One of the advantages on the environmental side is that this area was historically used as a logging area, so a lot of the impacts that occur… have already occurred at this site," he said. "To say that there is only seven hectares of clearing for a minesite, well, that is quite a small footprint when you think about it." He added and showed that there were no major bodies of water in the area that could be influenced. "There are a couple of small water bodies there, but based on the environmental studies that we have conducted, there’s not very much with respect to environmental impacts associated with those water bodies."
Samoiloff then talked about the environmental baseline studies that were done on the project. He said that there were three distinct floral communities within the local: a clear cut area which comprises the majority of the site; mature mixed forest, which buffers the site from the highway; to the south, there is wetland and moss. He said there were several bird and mammal species in the area and no doubt caribou in the region. "The Reed Herd, for example, is known to occur within the zone," he said. Although, he added, it is not within an area of migration corridors or calving grounds. He also acknowledged the assessment of creeks, rivers, and lakes in the region.
Samoiloff noted that the mine has been planned so there will be no impact to: Surface Water and Sediments; Aquatic Resources; Terrestrial Resources; Groundwater; Heritage Resources; and Resource Use. "Our baseline assessments were completed in 2010-11," he said. "There were no significant adverse impacts, both environmentally or socio-economically that were determined as a result of both construction and operation of the project. It is anticipated, based upon current closure procedures and experience closing similar mines in the region, it would take about five to ten years for the mine to return back to its pre-mining condition."
Some of the economic benefits of both the Lalor and Reed Projects were also noted. They are: the Lalor Mine and concentrator will employ approximately 430 employees at full production; the Reed Mine will employ 88 employees at full production; Concentrate produced at each mine will be processed in Flin Flon, providing additional economic benefit; and Northern contractors, supply services and other businesses will have opportunities as a result of the projects.
Prior to the end of the presentation there were several questions in regard to highway traffic generated by the mine and the size and number of trucks on the road? The increased traffic is negligible and trucks are to be essentially the same size as those currently traveling from Lalor to the Snow Lake Concentrator and those that travel from the concentrator on to Flin Flon.
The presenters all lingered in the hall at the conclusion of the open house to answer any further questions that arose. MJ Written by Editor Marc Jackson, The Underground Press Newspaper, Snow Lake Manitoba