Immediate review of mineral exploration permits critical

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Wilderness Committee

A mining claim post in Nopiming Provincial Park
A mining claim post in Nopiming Provincial Park (Eric Reder)

Secretive work permits issued in provincial parks and boreal caribou core habitat need to be publicized and reviewed by biologists

WINNIPEG / TREATY 1 TERRITORY AND HOMELAND OF THE MÉTIS NATION — As rampant mining claims and mineral exploration threaten endangered wild spaces and species in Manitoba, the Wilderness Committee looks to the new provincial government to immediately investigate permits issued in order to confirm they were given appropriate ecological review. 

“The Manitoba government has a duty to uphold the law. The law states parks and boreal caribou habitat are meant to be protected,” said Wilderness and Water Campaigner Eric Reder. “This isn't a wish list for the new government. Immediate action is required to halt all illegal mining destruction in Manitoba."

The current mineral exploration process in the province suffers from a lack of publicity and accountability, and therefore credibility. There's no public input into permits, no public announcement of permits, and no documentation of which ecologists have reviewed and authorized permits.

"We've found illegal mining claims in Nopiming Provincial Park,” said Reder. “We have every reason to believe there are more problems out there right now. The new government needs to commit to looking after nature and species, and ensure mining destruction isn’t occurring in sensitive areas."

An explosion of mining claims and mineral exploration in an area designated as core habitat for the protected boreal woodland caribou may also contravene the federal Species at Risk Act. Although the provincial government was required to finalize action plans for the Owl-Flintstone caribou range, it has not finalized any of the 15 plans required. A draft plan from 2011 identified the core habitat of the Owl-Flintsone, which is where the Manitoba government has authorized mining claims and mineral exploration. 

“If the new provincial government doesn’t right these wrongs and explain the authorization of mineral exploration work in the boreal caribou’s home, there is no choice but to get the federal government involved,” said Reder.

The Wilderness Committee is also calling for the Manitoba critical mineral strategy to be rescinded and an ecological component to be added before a draft goes for public review. While the new government promised during the election to protect 30 per cent of the lands and waters of the province, care for the other 70 per cent of the province is also essential.

“The work of cleaning up the environmental destruction of the last 7 years has to start right now,” said Reder. “The new government has stated they were elected to fix health care. Environmental protection is health care. Exposure to nature is health care. Climate action is healthcare.”

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