Jeff Green | Jul 15, 2005
Feature article, July 14, 2005
Feature article July 14, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
Contact UsA surprise for Marty Cadieux
by Jeff Green
Marty Cadieux arrived at his property near Westport last Saturday to prepare for the arrival of members of the public. He had decided to hold a second tour of his property, the first was held in April, to show the public the trenches that had been dug by prospectors from a company called Graphite Mountain. He was more than surprised by what he found.
The trenches, at least 70% of them, had been covered over. The work, which had been promised since May, had been done sometime toward the latter part of last week, as far as Marty Cadieux can tell.
I was surprised because when I talked to the Provincial Mining Recorder Roy Denomme early last week, he seemed to be backing off from forcing the mining company to fix the trenches, Cadieux told the News earlier this week. He said the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines was not concerned, and that the Mining Company would only fill in the trenches if they so chose, out of the goodness of their hearts.
To Marty Cadieux, this contradicted a letter he had received from Roy on May 5, after Denomme had met with both Marty Cadieux and David Houston, the owner of Graphite Mountain, at Cadieuxs property in late April.
The letter says, in part, I am pleased to inform you that the Provincial Mining Recorder has received written confirmation from the mineral rights holder, stating that site remediation will be conducted once load restrictions to local roads have been lifted.
As May passed into June, and load restrictions were lifted, Cadieux became impatient, and by the end of June he began to question the commitment of Graphite Mountain to fill in the trenches. He decided to hold a second property tour to exert more pressure on the Ministry. In calling the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to tell them of his plans early in July, Cadieux says he got the cold shoulder.
They did not return my calls, and when I finally got ahold of Roy Denomme, he said they werent going to force Houston to do anything, Cadieux said.
When contacted in his office at Sudbury by the News, Roy Denomme did recall the conversation with Marty Cadiieux at the beginning of last week,
I told Mr. Cadieux that the claim holder had volunteered to fill in the trenches, and that we were waiting for him to do that and we were confident it would be completed, Roy Denomme said.
Denomme also said that he has talked to David Houston several times about this situation, including at least once after talking to Marty Cadieux early last week.
David Houston told me he was having trouble finding a contractor to do the work now that construction season is in high gear. On Friday, we were informed that the trenches had been filled in, Denomme said.
For Marty Cadieux, the issue is not yet settled.
Im going to push them to get the rest of the holes filled in, then Im going to let the Premier be aware of what is going on, said Marty Cadieux.
For his part, Roy Denomme thought all the ditching had been done, and was unaware of Marty Cadiuexs continuing concern.
My understanding was that it had been completed. I suppose, and Im speculating, that they filled in all the deepest trenches, the ones that posed safety concerns. Most of the trenches were less than three feet deep. I suppose some of the shallow ones were missed.
Cadieux had initially argued that the existence of the trenches, some of which were more than 3 feet deep, constituted a potential health hazard.
There are local bylaws in place about swimming pools, saying they have to be fenced in for the protection of the public. These trenches can fill in with more water than a pool and if someone fell in it would very dangerous, and yet the Mining Company doesnt have to do anything, he said at the time.
Marty Cadieux insists that the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is responsible for policing the actions of mining exploration companies.
I wont talk to the Mining Company, and I refuse to talk to the Ministry about the Mining Act itself. As far as Im concerned they are a government department that should make sure things like this dont happen, he said.
The Ministry does not see its role in the same way.
We really encourage communication between the major players: the surface rights and the mining rights holders, said Roy Denomme. In this case I asked Mr. Cadieux if he wanted to be there when they were filling in the trenches so he could make sure the work was done to his satisfaction, and he said he didnt want to be there; he just wanted the work done.
Marilyn Crawford, a member of the Bedford Mining Alert, has had many dealings with both Graphite Mountain and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. She said that, under the mining act, claim holders are not required to return the area to its natural form. Trenches and other exploration workings may be left indefinitely.
Roy Denomme said that it is usually a matter of course for trenches to be filled in as a part of exploration, but that the timing of any remediation is not fixed; it varies dependent on the circumstances of the exploration plan.
While he has personally been involved in this particular case, Denomme said that the Ministry has had a conciliatory role, it has not been pressuring Graphite Mountain to do remediation under threat of revoking any mining claims.
He pointed out, as well, that in general disputes between surface and mining rights holders are handled through the Office of Mining and Lands Commissioner, an independent body unconnected to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.