Tuesday, October 19, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 42 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I’m very sympathetic toward the Food Bank but I’m not sure this is the best location.”
- John Irwin  
- on the Food Bank’s new   
building proposal   
Micrex seeks approval from SRD
The proposed Burmis magnetite project, on 5.5 hectares of land 20 minutes north of Highway 3 on the North Burmis Road, has faced its share of controversy and area resident ire. First applying for the project in 2003, Micrex withdrew its application in 2004 and returned in 2007 with a new proposal designed to meet a number of resident concerns.
Many of those residents remain concerned, but Micrex has passed some regulatory hurdles and is working on more approvals. Their most recent effort is to receive approval from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD), as the proposed quarry is on crown land.
SRD required that Micrex hold a new public open house, and said open house was held at the Cowley and District Community Hall in Cowley on Wednesday, October 6.
Micrex plans to excavate up to 40,000 tonnes of magnetite per year from the 5.5 hectare site, using a process that requires no water. At this rate of removal, the quarry is expected to last approximately 12 years, and will go 30 feet below the surface at its deepest point.
Information provided at the open house indicated that the quarry would operate eight hours a day, five days a week, to minimize any nuisance to area residents. Micrex states that they plan to reclaim the surface area after it is mined.
There are three other potential quarry sites identified by Micrex in the area, but they stress that no exploration has been done at these sites to determine economic viability, and that only one site is being applied for at the moment.
The three other sites total 15 hectares.
Micrex estimates that the project, if it went ahead, would generate 8 to 12 seasonal jobs, along with earthmoving and transport employment.
Concerned area residents, a number of whom attended the open house, worry that the quarry would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape and environment. The eastern slopes of the Livingstone Range is home to numerous important wildlife and plant species, and is a part of the Crown of the Continent landscape.
In documents provided by Micrex at the open house, they list efforts they have taken to meet each concern, such as a commitment to conduct wildlife monitoring studies, to implement vegetation management practices, to avoid standing timber, and to establish a dust suppression program.
Micrex has received approval from both the province and the federal government to move forward without an Environmental Impact Assessment, which has caused concerns among the project's opponents. Carolyn Moore-Robin, Community Affairs Coordinator for Micrex, says that they received these approvals through regular regulatory channels that apply to everyone, and that Micrex has already done a thorough job of completing studies in the area, all of which have been provided to the government. "Micrex went above and beyond," she says.
SRD Minister Mel Knight has stated that his department will give an answer to Micrex's surface rights application by the end of this year. If the approval is given, Micrex intends to proceed with applications to the M.D. of Pincher Creek and the M.D. of Ranchlands. The proposed project straddles the line between the two municipal districts.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 42 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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