Vale appealing intervener limits

Barb Sweet
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Residue from the nickel processing plant in Long Harbour will be contained in Sandy Pond.

Vale is appealing a decision that gave it limited intervener status in the federal court case to save Sandy Pond, which has been approved as a tailings pond for the nickel processing facility at Long Harbour.

The case surrounding Sandy Pond also has implications for other pristine natural bodies of water across the country.

The Mining Association of Canada and the Mining Association of British Columbia are also appealing the Feb. 10 decision, which the Sandy Pond Alliance has counted as a victory.

Sandy Pond Alliance lawyer Owen Myers said if Vale and the associations get full intervener status, it would have the effect of extensively dragging out the case, which is against the federal government.

“Vale doesn’t like it. They just want to delay and postpone everything,” alliance chairman Ken Kavanagh said Tuesday.

Vale’s lawyers are pushing to have the case heard in Ontario, but that’s out of the question for the volunteer, non-profit organization, Kavanagh said.

“Their game plan is to beat us to death,” he said.

Vale officials did not respond for comment.

The Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters Inc. launched a federal court challenge in June, seeking the removal of metal mining effluent regulations from the Federal Fisheries Act.

The regulations allow the government to approve the use of lakes and ponds across the country as tailings dump sites.

But according to court documents Vale has filed, if the federal court ultimately agrees with the alliance, it will have to decide whether that retroactively stops Vale’s plans for Sandy Pond.

“Therefore there is no doubt that Vale is directly affected by the order sought by the Sandy Pond Alliance,” lawyers for Vale say in the notice to appeal.

Lawyers for Vale and the two mining associations insist Justice Elizabeth Heneghan “erred and/or exercised her discretion unreasonably” in limiting their evidence, witnesses and cross-examination.

Vale said it is being denied “natural justice and procedural fairness” because it’s not being granted right of appeal in the alliance’s case against the federal government.

The mining associations are also asking that restrictions be lifted on what exactly the intervenors are allowed to appeal when the Sandy Pond case is concluded.

Projects across Canada are at stake, the association argues.

“The application to intervene by the Mining Associations of Canada and the Mining Association of British Columbia clearly indicated that their concern extended to the interests of the mining industry generally, and in that regard to various members of the association with projects currently being considered with respect to Sect. 2 of the Mining Effluent Regulations,” the notice of appeal states.

The tailings, in the case of Sandy Pond, are a byproduct of hydromet processing. Concentrated nickel concentrate is to be shipped in from the Voisey’s Bay minesite, where it is processed to remove waste materials, including iron and sulfur.

Some 5.8-million tonnes of residue will be generated over the 15-year life of the project.

The alliance favours an artificial impoundment.

Kavanagh said his group has also been trying to find out if Vale has finalizing a habitat compensation plan for loss of that ecosystem.



Organizations: Sandy Pond Alliance, Mining Association of British Columbia, Mining Association of Canada Protect Canadian Waters Mining Associations

Geographic location: Sandy Pond, Ontario, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Eugene from Town
    March 07, 2011 - 20:57

    Unfortunately people with attitudes like John's prevail: jobs for the byes. What John fails to see is that Vale (formerly Inco) have an agreement to build a plant here. Building it here means it has to meet our environmental standards; the fact that the crew making decisions about what is environmentally fit have no regard for the wildlife, human life, or the potential for loss of any temporary protection afforded by a land dam, doesn't make them reliable guardians of our natural resources. I like the idea of good paying jobs, does it have to come with no regard for our natural environment? I think not, and in this case it's time for the company to pay up front for a permanent, environmentally benign containment/treatment facility so we don't have to deal with the mess on the back end.

  • John
    March 06, 2011 - 20:34

    Peope here posting comments that has never saw sandy pond and some that dont even know where it is or how to get to it I grew up in that area I fished sandy pond I fished it for hrs never got a trout all that area has many small ponds what.s 1 pond compeared to the jobs that will be created ...If everyone too that attude there would be nothing in this province Like I sais people commenting that dont know where sandy pond is its just something for them to complain about get a its progress give up 1 pond when this province is 90 percent water . This was not too a friend it was in response too the comments on here

  • Max
    March 02, 2011 - 19:28

    I would first like to state that I am not a member of he Sandy Pond Alliance, nor do I know any of the members, but I wholeheartedly support their efforts to stop this atrocity. Vale should be ashamed of themselves for even suggesting such an abomination. It is readily apparent, that their only consideration is ($$$$$$$) the bottom line. This type of Corporate malignancy we don't need. Please take your business someplace else. Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders, have had their fill of Corporate opportunist, your type of Corporate citizen, we don't need. Your plans to pollute this Pond thereby destroying its aquatic life, are both repugnant and unconscionable. I trust the Court case will permanently derail your stated intention, any Politician or Political party who would support your position, doesn't deserve the support of a thinking, caring electorate.

  • Jacob
    March 02, 2011 - 15:53

    Put the blame for this where it belongs. Charlene Johnson and the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This deal should have been cut off at the pass.

  • Michael
    March 02, 2011 - 11:07

    Great job Sandy Pond alliance. It's sick to think a fresh water body can be polluted in this way. Our governments should be ashamed for allowing this in the 1st place.

  • Red
    March 02, 2011 - 09:39

    Vale will be constructing 2 earthen dams so they can fill sandy Pond to the brim just check out this link that shows how many of these earthen dams collapse over the years. If you don't like it send Ross Wisemans assistant an email to let him know how you feel, apparently he loves emails just call him Martin. He will tell you that your opinion doesn't count and to stop sending emails, that's the respect you get with this government.

  • Jerry
    March 02, 2011 - 09:33

    Vale wants to the same thing they did with the strike and that is wear the people down until they can't take it anymore. Anyone willing to work for this type of company are morally bankrupt. They have deep pockets and the Sandy Pond Alliance is a volunteer group with limited funds which Vale knows very well. We have already let these bullies push us around in our own country, and it wouldn't happen anywhere else on this planet. Why do we have to be such pushovers? We have the resources they need, all we need to do is ensure they extract them properly, and leave the land the way they found it. I hope the Federal Government loses this case as I would LMAO.

  • james
    March 02, 2011 - 08:32

    want to read about tailing ponds check out a story called (wind energy,s dirty little secrets)the toronto star february 27

  • Chantal
    March 02, 2011 - 08:31

    Justice is the most beautiful thing money can buy.