Ecojustice has represented Wildlands League for a number of years for the failure of De Beers to report mercury monitoring data collected at its Victor Diamond Mine in Northern Ontario to the provincial regulator. We are grateful for their support and legal expertise.
Map of Attawapiskat River Watershed.
The Victor Diamond Mine operated from 2008-2019 and is now being decommissioned.
We care because the Hudson Bay Lowland and adjacent northern Boreal Forest is one of the largest intact areas left on the planet. It is also the ancestral homeland for many Indigenous communities. Industrial resource extraction should only proceed if it meets the highest standards in the world (including free prior and informed consent) and only after a long term protection plan for the sensitive watersheds and wetlands is in place.
Ontario needs a long term view to ensure local First Nations are respected and the environment is protected. Trevor Hesselink says, “We expected Ontario to enforce its own laws. If we can’t rely on Ontario to oversee a single diamond mine, how can we trust it to oversee the many northern infrastructure and mining developments that are on the horizon?”
Monitoring and reporting are important and so is ensuring any mining development follows the law.
Making the monitoring data accessible to First Nations and the public is a critically missing step towards transparent decision-making.
There should be opportunities for the public to learn more about what it means to mine in the muskeg. The risks and costs to communities, rivers, fish and other wildlife need to be brought to light along with any economic benefits. A transparent and informed conversation around trade-offs is paramount especially as plans are afoot to open new mines in the Ring of Fire.
Environmental Group Takes Diamond Giant De Beers to Court (December 6, 2016)
Failure of self monitoring at the De Beers Victor diamond mine in Canada (December 21, 2015)