Tuesday, November 30, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 48 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“If I compare the Crowsnest Pass to Fernie ... I don’t think there is sufficient opportunity.”
- Nichole Yanota  
- Local artist   
   
 
Members of the Livingstone Landowners Group, 125 in total, living in the area which will be directly affected by the proposed magnetite mining operation north of Burmis, sent a letter to several political representatives last week, voicing their opposition to the mine.
Micrex Development Corporation, the company which would oversee the operation, held an open house information session in Cowley on October 6, as required by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD), which several area residents attended.
At the open house, Micrex representatives stated “not everyone is opposed to the mine.”
In order to determine the exact number of residents in opposition, local landowner Jan Nelson circulated a letter to those living on North Burmis Road, Chapel Rock Road and Willow Valley Road, asking for their opinion on the matter.
As a result, 125 residents voiced their overwhelming opposition to the mine by signing the letter, with only one resident in favour.
The resident who was in favour of the development said “it would be good for the economy, and mining companies reclaim land now.”
“There is a proven economy in this area already,” said Nelson. “It is based on ranching, home businesses, tourism, hunting, fishing, and equestrian outfitting - all things that would be negatively impacted by a mine, no matter its size.”
Nelson went on to say, “the jobs will be seasonal... meaning we, the taxpayers, will contribute to unemployment benefits for the balance of the year.”
But more importantly than any of that, Nelson said mining operations on the flanks of the Livingstone Range would endanger wildlife and vegetation, annoy residents, create excess dust on rural roads, and damage the natural landscape.
The area is home to bighorn sheep lambing grounds, grizzly bears, endangered white and limber pines, and various other species of plants and animals,.
However, SRD did not require that Micrex perform an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or archaeological studies.
This, apparently, is because the proposed mine would only encompass 5.5 hectares of land, and therefore the environmental impact or ecological footprint would be minor.
However, Nelson noted that the total amount of land purchased by Micrex amounted to 36 square miles, 56,909 hectares, and that the possibility exists that further mineral resources could be discovered, and operations could be extended to the outlying land package, which would make a significant impact on the landscape.
 
“What that means to me is they are starting so small, they don’t require a formal EIA... but once they are up and running, what is to stop them from expanding,” said Nelson. “A large mining operation has the potential to devastate this whole region.”
“Heavy equipment cannot help but affect the landscape, wildlife and residents. Heavy trucks running back and forth will require additional road maintenance.”
“Micrex says they will reclaim the land... but it is difficult to re-establish rough fescue (grass) once it has been chewed up. With the howling winds we have had here this fall, I don’t see reclamation being possible.”
Magnetite, also known as lodestone, is the most magnetic naturally occurring mineral on Earth, and is used in removing arsenic from water, coating industrial water tube steam boilers, as a catalyst for various industrial chemical processes, as an abrasive, as insulation for windows, and in printer toner and the creation of steel, as well as for jewellery.
Clearly, there are many benefits to mining for the mineral, but residents feel the negative aspects of creating mining operations in the Livingstone Range far outweighs the positive.
“The history and culture of the area is extremely important to its residents,” Nelson said in the letter which was sent to government officials. “A mine would be intrusive and divisive to the community. The economic benefits of tourism and the film industry would also be greatly diminished.”
The letter, signed by all 125 residents which were in favour of it, was sent to Minister of Sustainable Resources Mel Knight, Conservative and Opposition Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly, and Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council, in an attempt to “remind all of them that one of the functions of our elected officials is to represent the views of the electorate.”
“One hundred and twenty-five people in a small rural area have expressed their views,” said the letter. “This was a wonderful showing of the community rallying at a grassroots level to support a common goal.”
SRD will determine whether Micrex will be permitted to mine on the stretch of land, which straddles the line between the MD of Pincher Creek and the MD of Ranchlands, by the end of the month.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 48 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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