FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government has approved a mining project with conditions aimed at protecting the environment.
The approval was given to Sisson Mines Ltd. for the mine near Fredericton, which is subject to 40 conditions.
Environment Minister Brian Kenny says the green light was given following an environmental impact assessment.
The project would include a molybdenum and tungsten open-pit mine and an ore-processing facility.
It is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and 300 permanent jobs during operation with an expected lifespan of 27 years.
But the Conservation Council of New Brunswick said the approval was a surprise, and that the announcement had “been made in a vacuum.”
“At best, today’s announcement is a signal that the province is open to business, but in reality, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” said Stephanie Merrill with the Council, in a statement.
But Fredericton’s Natural Resource Task Force commended the province for moving forward on the project.
A member of the group, Laurie Guthrie, said the task force would have liked to have seen the process move along quicker.
It’s an aspect of the environment assessment process the task force would like to see improved.
“Time is money,” said Guthrie, an economic development specialist with Ignite Fredericton.
“I’ve been informed that they’ve already invested around $45 million in this project. So when you want to be open for business to the world, you know, you need to be able to move to the pace of business.”
There’s no indication on when the federal government will come back with their review.
But when asked if the environment conditions are strong enough for a government who’s priority has been on jobs, Kenny said the “proof is in the pudding.”
“This has been a long time, there’s been a lot of consultation going on. If you take a look at the recommendations, there’s a lot of protection for environment,” he said.
The conditions are meant to protect water quality, fish habitat, wetlands and archaeological resources, and include monitoring and emergency response plans.
With files from the Canadian Press