Press Release: A questionable fortune for Langham

Press Release
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
For immediate release

A questionable fortune for Langham

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) advised the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment that approval for the Fortune Minerals Metal Processing Facility, proposed for construction near Langham, should be refused.

Langham, an agricultural community, is approximately 30 kilometres west of Saskatoon. An Environmental Impact Study for the proposed facility is currently under review by the Ministry.

If approved, the processing facility would receive its feedstock from a proposed mine in the Northwest Territories. Ore bearing copper, cobalt, bismuth, and gold would be transported by rail to Langham. Following extraction processes employing hazardous chemicals, including cyanide, 2.8 million tonnes of solid wastes, containing arsenic, would remain permanently at the Langham site. Liquid waste would be injected into a deep underground formation through wells that would need to penetrate the Dalmeny Aquifer, the regional source of drinking water. Process water for the facility would be withdrawn from the Dalmeny Aquifer, resulting in a lowering of water levels in local wells.

“There are so many unanswered questions and potential hazards associated with the project,” says Ann Coxworth, SES Board Member. “The risks to Langham and surrounding area overwhelmingly outweigh the potential benefits.”

“Sodium cyanide is banned in several jurisdictions, including Montana, and arsenic is a carcinogen that is hazardous to public health in concentrations as low as ten parts per billion,” says Peter Prebble, SES Director of Environmental Policy. “The use of these chemicals on the proposed site, and the plans to dispose of arsenic laced waste, will pose a long term safety concern for local residents, and for those who move into the area in the future, as the population of the Saskatoon region expands.”

SES’s concerns with the proposal have been communicated in a submission to the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Assessment Branch. SES is recommending that approval for the proposal be denied.