By Alan Coutts, President and CEO
When Noront consulted local First Nations and other stakeholders regarding the development of the Eagle’s Nest mine, many people expressed concerns that huge areas of land would be negatively impacted. In response to these concerns, Noront’s engineers re-designed the project in order to reduce the impact of the development to smallest possible area or “footprint”.
Instead of having a big open pit and the associated waste rock piles, we committed to mining entirely underground. We also reconfigured the project so that the aggregate rock quarry is developed underground, and all the tailings are placed back underground as well. This means that there will be no tailings dam and facilities left on surface to manage after the mine has closed.
In fact, our teams worked hard to ensure that the Eagles Nest mine will fit on the site of the current Esker Camp which has a disturbed footprint of 36 hectares (see the attached figure). To put that number in context, Marten Falls covers 48 hectares and Webequie’s footprint is 50 hectares.
In a beautiful and environmentally sensitive area like the James Bay Lowlands, where the Ring of Fire is located, it is important to limit the impact of economic development projects as much as possible. This is an example of how Noront shows its respect for the land and our community partners as we seek creative, collaborative ways to do resource development in the 21st century.