VICTORIA – The Cariboo Gold mine project in central British Columbia has been awarded an environmental assessment certificate.
The certificate was issued to Osisko Development Corp. after a joint decision by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne.
The ministers consulted with technical experts, First Nations, provincial agencies, local governments, a community advisory committee and the public, a release stated, and 22 legally binding conditions were included in the certificate.
Key requirements include:
- A plan to minimize impacts on the local community and tourism, through a limit on the maximum allowable noise from the project, performing blasting only during the day, using vegetation to screen buildings and other facilities to minimize visual impacts for residents and visitors, limiting truck traffic near residential areas, strict policies around work camps, including to prevent gender-based violence and restrict use of tourist accommodations by workers, hiring 75 per cent of workers from the region (if qualified) and a strategy developed with the District of Wells to mitigate pressures on recreation and tourism. Osisko also must hold regular community meetings and ensure timely response to concerns;
- establishing a new, clean drinking water supply for the District of Wells;
- mitigation and monitoring measures to reduce emissions and maintain air quality;
- managing effects on the environment, in particular to mitigate impacts to wildlife, habitat and bodies of water, overseen by an independent environmental monitor;
- working with the province to support remediation in the District of Wells and along the shore of Jack of Clubs Lake, contaminated by a previous mine’s tailings containing arsenic, cobalt, cadmium, lead and other contaminants; and
- a specific plan to minimize impacts to the Barkerville woodland caribou herd, including monitoring, mitigation measures and offsets for habitat disturbance.
Cariboo Gold is the first project entirely assessed under the new 2018 Environmental Assessment Act, which gives First Nations participating in the process the opportunity to provide consent or lack of consent.
All three Nations in whose territory project activities will occur participated in the environmental assessment, the release stated. Lhtako Dené Nation and Williams Lake First Nation provided notices of consent, and Xatśūll First Nation advised the ministers that they did not object to the project.