Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kipawa Lake Preservation Society

The following statement was released by the Kipawa Lake Preservation Society:

The following translated quotes appeared in an article published on Friday January 24th by La Frontière (

«Les lois environnementales au Canada et au Québec interdisent de polluer les cours d’eau. On ne pourrait pas polluer le lac Kipawa. Nous allons bientôt déposer notre demande de permis pour la mine et nous avons l’intention de démontrer que notre projet est respectueux de l’environnement»  a indiqué Claude Brisson, de Matamec

" Environmental laws in Canada and Quebec prohibit the pollution of waterways. We could not pollute Lake Kipawa. We will soon submit our application for a permit to mine and we intend to demonstrate that our project is environmentally friendly " Claude Brisson, Director of Regional Relations, Matamec.

 «Les gens qui nous contestent le font avec des ordinateurs qui utilisent des terres rares. On ne peut pas se passer de ce produit. C’est mieux d’exploiter des mines de terres rares dans des juridictions où la législation environnementale est plus sévère, comme le Québec, que dans des pays où l’environnement est moins protégé» Claude Brisson, de Matamec
"People who challenge us do it with computers that use rare earths. We can not do without this product. It's better to mine rare earths in jurisdictions where environmental legislation is more severe, like Quebec, than in countries where the environment is less protected "  Claude Brisson, Director of Regional Relations, Matamec

It is the belief of the Kipawa Lake Preservation Society that in light of proposed rare earths projects, there is urgency for environmental groups and the public to work together NOW (more than ever) to oppose such activities. Kipawa Lake should be protected from development for its intrinsic worth and not exploited solely for the monetary value of its resources below the surface.

Though it is true that Federal and Provincial legislation exists to protect the environment, it is not unthinkable to assume that the unexpected CAN (and does) happen. Mitigation measures are created to plan for unforeseen negative effects on the environment, but not everything can be planned for. Any mining company technically “could” pollute because they have the “ability” to. Laws are broken and fines exist JUST for such reasons.   

Mr. Brisson, Director of Regional Relations for Matamec, has stated that the laws are such that their project could not pollute Lake Kipawa. Yet from the Feasibility study published by Matamec on October 17, 2013 it would appear otherwise. Please see attached pages 296-299 of that document that outlines effects on surface water quality and hydrology, impacts on fish and waterfowl, risks of accidental spills, groundwater draw down and impacts on groundwater, effects on soil quality, air quality, changes in noise and vibration, loss of vegetation and wetlands, habitat loss or alteration, modification of lands and resource use, visual modifications of the landscape, potential disturbance to archeological sites. The full document can be accessed online

It is important to note that the intended use of the ore from the Kipawa Rare Earths project is not for computers or electronic devices, but for hybrid and electric vehicle production.  
Alex Tyrell of the Green Party of Quebec issued a statement this past Friday as well, «Les voitures électriques n’émettent peut-être pas de CO2 lorsqu’elles roulent, mais elles ne sont pas vertes pour autant. Les mines de terres rares sont très polluantes et on ne peut pas accepter qu’elles soient situées près des cours d’eau comme le lac Kipawa», a soutenu M. Tyrrell.

Mr. Tyrrell stated “Electric cars may be don’t release carbon dioxide when they are on the road but they are not ‘green’. Rare earth mines are a source of a great deal of pollution and we can not except that they be situated near a body of water like Kipawa Lake.”

We agree with Mr. Tyrrell, and it is our belief that regardless of the intended use of the ore or the regulations in place, rare earth mining has never been carried out in a safe manner. The Metal Mining and Effluent Regulations as referred to in Matamec’s feasibility study were not written with rare earth mining in mind. They limit the release of  some but not all of the contaminants of concern associated with rare earth mines. Even if all safety precautions are implemented there is always a risk that an accident could occur. No mining company can make guarantees that their projects will not impact nearby waterways or the environment. We should not be prepared to risk our beautiful waterways, our health and the air we breathe for the sake of alternative “green” products which are proving to be not so green. We are merely trading one environmental problem for another. There are currently no recycling programs for rare earth ores and at the end of the lifespan of electronic devices these ores end up in landfills. We need to find better solutions to these problems that do not put our health and ecosystems at risk. The technology already exists for electric cars that do not use rare earths for more information please visit

The mission of the Kipawa Lake Preservation Society is to preserve the Kipawa watershed as it is, environmentally healthy and unpolluted, through constant dialogue, education and protective initiatives that involve the local population, general public, government officials and corporations directly or indirectly related to the Kipawa watershed. Stay tuned for more information and the launch of

For questions, concerns or more information please contact

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