Inspection shows how Ontario government undermined its environmental policies on mining projects

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government has approved more than a dozen new mining permits without seeking public comment, according to an examination of provincial approval maps.

The Greenbelt Management Strategy says 87% of the Ontario census tract and provincial territory remain “parks, flood plains, coastal development, or wilderness (90% of total landmass)”.

The Searchlight Gold Ltd.-led project on Middletown Plains, Ont., could violate this and more than any other mine site in Ontario, a newly released report for Goldcorp warned the government.

In a letter, Goldcorp told the Ontario Energy Board that “it is clear that this is a mine site that is in violation of the Greenbelt Plan…and therefore should not be granted development permits.”

Ontario government approval maps under review

“Despite the national-scale problems we are seeing in Ontario’s energy sector (open-pit mine permits spiked to 1,400 last year), some of our country’s best corporate leaders are trying to reconcile their reputations with the need to protect the environment and diminish carbon emissions.” — Letitia Trudeau, National Geographic Canada

Read what searchlight group and Global News found

Expert: First Nations in Ontario deserve more stake in access, use of resources

Open this photo in gallery Golden Arrow Minerals Corp. office in Lumby, B.C., in February. The Globe and Mail

The searchlight group has purchased and is developing very high-grade gold-copper-silver resource on the Middletown Plains. In its June report to the Mining Advisory Board, it announced the simultaneous purchase of Goldcorp’s McMillan Gold mine in B.C. as well as a new “No Sulphur” mine, just north of Royal Nickel’s Cutback mine in the Cariboo. The exploration in the Pilgangoora Group is targeting copper-gold-silver-lead-zinc-sulfide-silver-copper. The explorers estimate there may be “significant resources” at several exploration sites.

Open this photo in gallery Goldcorp Corporation chief executive David Garofalo speaks at a panel discussion about the mining industry in Toronto, on Dec. 5, 2012. The Globe and Mail

Ontario government approval maps under review: Confirmed the decision-making process was not comprehensive

Open this photo in gallery Dr. Wojtek Kielczewski, an internationally recognized mining geologist and geotechnical engineer, describes the mining industry’s recent shifting of “certain complicating geological underpinnings of greenfield mines such as Olkiluoto and Abitibi to greenfield sands mines. Picture: JANA CHRISTEK

One advantage the greenhouses offer the Fraser valley, for instance, is that they are adjacent to the population. This removes some potential unpleasant surprises. Letitia Trudeau wrote in 2011 that opening up my own backyard to flooding or new rock falls is not as threatening as it might sound. In my case, then, the decision was based on an assessment by geological geoscientist Jon Bennett of Kanahus Associates, Ltd. who had previously studied mine developments in Kenya and Costa Rica.

Open this photo in gallery The Guardian dedicated the Monday edition to less invasive uses of chemicals in the food system. Under a photo of a tomato on a plate, headline: “New Greenhouse Plants: Snip Food, Grow Food.” Dan Kelleher wrote: “Un-freakishly healthy and in many cases vegetarian in flavour, these plants excel when grown as temporary outdoor arboretums.” Peter Miller

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