By Don Norman
In a statement released on August 25, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation (BON) announced that they had sent two letters, one to the Province of Manitoba and a second to the Government of Canada, outlining their concerns with the proposed CanWhite Sands silica sand processing facility development project near Vivian, Manitoba.
This is not to be confused with the Canadian Premium Sands proposed silica sand mine near Seymourville, which is a separate project and a separate company.
Concerns have been raised about the CanWhite project, specifically in how it might affect toxicity levels in the Brokenhead River. CanWhite couldn’t be reached for comment but not surprisingly, their website indicates that environmental stewardship is important to them. “Access to safe, potable water and sanitation is a human right and water is a shared, finite resource. Through good water management practices, we minimize our impact on water resources for the benefit of local community and ourselves. By improving our water efficiency, we reduce our impact on local water supplies.”
However, BON is concerned that CanWhite is attempting to have Manitoba approve the mine and mining method extraction as a separate development project in a separate Environment Act License. So, they requested that project be suspended so that the Project can be reviewed by a Joint Federal/Provincial panel that the review include not only their proposed processing facility, but also the silica sand mine and extraction methods.
BON has also requested that the Crown immediately undertake Section 35 Consultation with the First Nation. “We firmly believe that our Treaty Rights maybe impact by this proposed development project,” the release stated. They asked that the consultation process occur before the Environment Act Approval process begins.