Revised Mining Act charts a new course



    Conservation Group welcomes the fresh approach

    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - CPAWS Wildlands League, a leading conservation
group in the province welcomes several changes to Ontario's Mining Act tabled
today by Minister Gravelle in the legislature. In particular the group is
pleased, that if passed, the province will implement a new dispute resolution
process for Aboriginal-related issues to mining, withdrawals of areas that are
culturally significant and an increased regulatory system for exploration.
    "Minister Gravelle has been working quietly and creatively over the last
year to find the right ingredients for a new mining regime in Ontario," says
Janet Sumner, Executive Director. "We look forward to working with the
Minister to make sure good conservation outcomes can occur along with economic
prosperity in the province," Sumner adds.
    CPAWS Wildlands League has been calling for Mining Act reforms since 2006
and worked with First Nations, human rights, faith-based, legal, student,
citizens, environmental and other groups to draw attention to the problems of
the Act. The Mining Act, originally passed in 1873, has been the source of
many land use conflicts in the province. It was one of the biggest impediments
to conservation-based land use planning and a new relationship with Aboriginal
peoples.
    "Are the changes everything we hoped for?" asks Anna Baggio, Director
Conservation Land Use Planning. "No, but Minister Gravelle has set Ontario on
a new course that we hope will ultimately lead to certainty, increased
protection for the environment and respect for Aboriginal peoples," Baggio
says. "It's like going from the age of the fountain pen to the Blackberry in
one fell swoop," Baggio adds.
    "The tabled legislation has some ways to go before the act is passed,"
Sumner reminds, "We hope to address our outstanding concerns around the lack
of environmental assessment, ongoing staking before community land use plans
are completed and, free, prior and informed consent," she adds, "If you only
change mining laws every century, you want to get it right."
    The Act, if passed, would also enshrine in law the requirement for
approved community land use plans prior to the opening of new mines in the Far
North. This is a critical piece of the overall Far North Initiative. Earlier
this week the province announced progress on Resource Benefit Sharing and now
with changes to the Mining Act underway, Wildlands League looks forward to
Premier McGuinty delivering the third and final component of the Initiative,
good legislation on Far North Land Use Planning.

    A copy of the changes to the Act can be found at
http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b173.pdf





For further information:

For further information: Janet Sumner, Executive Director, (416)
579-7370; Anna Baggio, Director, Conservation Land Use Planning, (416)
453-3285

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CPAWS WILDLANDS LEAGUE

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