Camp Morning Star is opposed to the Wanipigow Silica Sand Extraction project for the following reasons:
- Silica Sand Mine Reclamation is NOT POSSIBLE. The proponents of Frac Sand Mining will tell you that the benefits will outweigh the risks when the area is adequately reclaimed. That is, IF reclamation is actually possible. The proposed Wanipigow Silica Sand Extraction mine is located on a peninsula of land adjacent to Lake Winnipeg. The land in question has sandy soils over a granite bedrock, the land is well drained due to its elevation. The local landscape consists of old growth spruce forests with an open understory suitable as habitat for several species of wild berries, including blueberries. The spruce forests and the wild blueberries all require sandy, well drained soils in order to survive. How is reclamation possible without the sand? Blueberries do not grow in your typical garden soil. Reclamation is NOT POSSIBLE!
- Canadian Premium Sand has admitted to using polymers (including polyacrylamide polymers) during the sand processing activities as described in Appendix B of their Environment Act proposal. These polymers have been found to infiltrate groundwater when used in other sand mining operations. Given that the project area is at a higher elevation than surrounding surface waters, it’s reasonable to expect rainwater/meltwater to pick up contaminants from the sand mine site and carry it down into the groundwater and the surrounding lakes and rivers. Local drinking water, whether it be surface or well water is at risk for polyacrylamide polymer contamination. Long term exposure to these water soluble polymers through contaminated drinking water can lead to nervous system damage and an increased risk of cancer. Local drinking water is not currently regulated for polyacrylamide concentrations, so IF contamination were to occur – local residents would NEVER know!
- Silica dust exposure is dangerous and can lead to fatal diseases such as silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The risk is not only to employees working at the silica sand mine but also to those living in the local area. The area is known for high winds as it is located on the shoreline of Lake Winnipeg and it’s likely that the silica dust will negatively influence the air quality in nearby communities. A full environmental assessment is required to ensure that silica levels are adequately assessed with a comprehensive, air quality monitoring program. Silica dust is NOT JUST DUST – it can be fatal.