Uranium deposits can be found in most areas of Ontario|
Here's a sobering thought … government interest in nuclear energy and the current high price of uranium has sparked a surge of exploration activity by scores of junior mining companies in our province. Ontario’s Crown land and cottage country are prime targets! Over 30,000 acres have been staked near Sharbot Lake, east of Bon Echo Provincial Park. The Bancroft/Haliburton area has been staked. A uranium mine in the environmentally sensitive Mississippi watershed could contaminate many downstream communities, First Nations lands and the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal system. Because this exploration is done quietly with no public consultation, it could be happening right now upstream or upwind from your cottage or country property. We urge you to investigate claims in your area at http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/MNDM/MINES/lands/claimap3.
Ontario’s Mining Act trumps your rights as a property owner
If you do not own the mineral rights on your property, the Ontario Mining Act allows companies to stake claims and explore for minerals without your permission. Ontario’s Crown land is fully open to mining, even in areas where there are ongoing native land claims and in areas where other land uses are prohibited (eg, campgrounds). With only 24 hours notice, the Mining Act allows mining companies to trench and drill your property using heavy equipment, and allows removal of up to 1000 tons of material. At this exploration stage, there are no government controls, inspections or environmental assessment. There is no public or First Nations consultations. The Mining Act is 150 years old and is long overdue for a major overhaul. See http://www.ont-woodlot-assoc.org/mining_surface.html for more information about this archaic piece of legislation.
Uranium exploration and mining is hazardous to environment and health
Serious health and environmental damage has already been documented in Elliott Lake, northern Saskatchewan and other uranium mining centers in the world. Dr. Gordon Edwards, founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, states: “Mining uranium releases large amounts of radioactive radon gas, which is much heavier than air. The radon will follow the path of the prevailing winds, from west to east, depositing solid radioactive fallout (mainly radioactive lead and polonium). Such radioactive deposits, entering into the food chain, will pose a gradually accumulating health risk to the population – especially children.”
Health Canada states that “[radon gas] is the number one cause of lung cancer after smoking”. Other byproducts of uranium mining are just as deadly. You can learn more at Gordon Edwards’ website www.ccnr.org or Health Canada’s website http://hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/2006/2006_18_e.html.
Major Gaps in Ontario’s Environmental Regulatory Regime put us at risk
There are major gaps in Ontario’s mining and environmental regulatory regimes that put us all at risk. Scores of active junior mining companies exploring for uranium are self-regulated … environmental protection on the honor system! There is a black-and-white contrast between treatment of mining companies and treatment of rural developers in Ontario!
Ontario Uranium NOT needed to fuel Province’s reactors
Risks from uranium exploitation are completely unnecessary … Ontario currently gets all of its uranium from northern Saskatchewan, more than 85% of which is exported. No uranium is currently mined in Ontario. Furthermore, Ontario’s uranium deposits are low-grade, making them difficult to justify economically. If they are developed, roughly 200 times more tailings will be produced by Ontario mines. Current stockpiles and northern Saskatchewan production are forecasted to last more than 50 years. So, Ontario uranium is NOT needed to keep the province’s nuclear reactors going.
Uranium Exploitation is a “Wet Blanket” on Sustainable Development Plans
Most rural Councils are now developing exciting new Integrated Community Sustainability Plans to map out a 20-year vision for rural development, including eco-tourism, organic farming and scores of other sustainable businesses. Most people consider uranium exploitation a serious “wet blanket” on these plans. It also has a serious impact on property values.
Premier McGuinty, we ask you to act immediately
Scores of Ontario organizations, First Nations communities, thousands of residents and many eastern Ontario municipal Councils demand are calling for an immediate moratorium against uranium exploration and mining, to allow a proper assessment of environmental, health and economic impacts of uranium exploitation in our area.
Write to your MP, MPP and local politicians … we must all remind the government of Ontario of its duty to protect our economy, the environment and the rights of its citizens!
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