Friday, 22 February 2013

The Green Party of Manitoba Calls for a Moratorium on Mining in Provincial Parks

GRANDVIEW:  The Green Party of Manitoba condemns the NDP government for allowing the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting company to start construction of a mine in Grass River Provincial Park without approval or public consultation. “If allowed to proceed, the Reed Lake Mine will destroy the woodland Caribou herd which the Park was intended to protect,” says Kate Storey, Green Party councillor and former researcher of the Reed Lake woodland caribou herd.

Kate uses radio telemetry to track movements 
of woodland caribou at  Reed Lake

Grass River Provincial Park is a small park surrounding Reed Lake. This park is a rare area of ideal woodland caribou habitat. Woodland caribou depend on the islands of Reed Lake for protection of their young calves from wolves. Every spring the caribou mothers leave their wintering grounds in old growth forest and swim out to the many islands on Reed Lake where their calves are born in safety.


Kate examines a caribou calf. 
The Reed Lake mine is located on the spring migration route. The industrial activity of the mine will disrupt the caribou’s travel and prevent the mothers from reaching safe calving grounds, resulting in a high calf mortality rate. If the Caribou mothers cannot reach an island, their calves typically die within one week. The Reed Lake Mine upsets the balance of nature, which the provincial park was created to protect.

The Reed Lake mine is a small copper deposit, which will be mined out within 5 years. It is considered to be easy money because the site is close to the highway and requires no expensive infrastructure. “Five years of industrial activity means five years of calf deaths to the caribou herd already endangered from logging. This mine may very well be the tipping point which destroys one of Manitoba’s last herds of woodland caribou”, says Storey.

“Parks are formed where there is some natural wonder of particular value to the people in Manitoba. Grass River Provincial Park was created to protect the wildlife of Reed Lake. Now the Manitoba NDP are willing to throw away wildlife preservation in favour of five short years of copper ore” says James Beddome, leader of the Manitoba Greens. “By allowing Hud Bay mining to start construction before consulting the public, the NDP have clearly signaled that they value money more than wildlife.  In five years, the ore from this mine will be exhausted and the jobs will be gone, but the caribou herd will be decimated.”

“The Green Party of Manitoba calls on the NDP government to stop the Reed Lake Mine and end all mining in our Provincial Parks. There are countless other locations for mines in this province,” says Beddome. “Sacrificing the Reed Lake caribou herd for five short years of profit is just an example of shameless greed.”

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Contact
Kate Storey,
Green Party council and former Woodland Caribou researcher
Grandview, Manitoba,
 204-546-2099
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