West High Yield (WHY) Resources Ltd. has announced concessions for its proposed Record Ridge Industrial Mineral Mine project south of Rossland.
Following the First Provincial Mining Development Review Committee Meeting (MDRC) on June 27, a release from WHY indicated it would mitigate some of the environmental concerns expressed by Rossland residents.
“We appreciate the community members who provided feedback at our open houses in May, and we have responded to show our commitment to working together to make this the best possible project,” said WHY director Barry Baim in a release.
Rossland councillor Stewart Spooner also attended the meeting with government officials from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI), technical experts, First Nations groups and Indigenous peoples.
The formal meetings are closed to the public, but are part of the review process in vetting WHY Resources application for the Record Ridge mine.
WHY heeded the advice offered by residents at the Open House at the Prestige Inn in Rossland on May 17-18. The Open House was not part of the official process, but gave residents the opportunity to voice their concerns in an often heated fashion with WHY CEO and president Frank Marasco.
“That was spectacular,” said Spooner. “They (WHY) used that as a template for the changes they’re proposing to try and get through the process.”
MDRC initiated the technical review of WHY’s permit application process and will allow for discussions on future engagement of interested parties as the permit process unfolds.
Coun. Spooner confirmed that WHY Resources has proposed mitigation strategies to the review committee that include:
• Substituting the use of explosives with mechanized equipment for ore extraction.
• Implementing enclosed environments for crushing equipment to effectively manage dust and noise.
• Exploring the option with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure of utilizing a trucking route along Highway 22 to North Port, Wash. rather than passing through the City of Rossland.
“Apparently they are going to tie into the grid so it’s going to be electric, they’re going to do an indoor crusher, so that it has soundproofing, and they are putting a bag-house on top to catch the dust,” Spooner explained. “So trucks are not going through town, there’s no blasting, and they’ll deal with the noise and deal with the dust.”
Spooner says he has not taken a personal stance on the mining project, but is trying to keep the community’s interests in mind.
“Quite a significant proportion of the community are against the mine,” said Spooner. “They want to live in paradise and a big mine doesn’t fit with that. Those people are not going to be happy, but for those with more specific concerns, maybe they’ll be addressed.”
On June 5, Rossland council passed a motion to send a letter to the Minister of Mines, Josie Osborne, requesting information on the full mining application and expressing the community’s concerns.
Spooner also represents the Rossland Trails Society, and in his discussion with WHY representatives said there would be disruption to the Seven Summits Trail, but that the company was more than willing to rebuild or reroute the trail.
“It’s not like we get to vote on the mine,” added Spooner. “All they have to do is seem reasonable to the province. And as an observer, I’m not the one making the decision, but it seemed like they were working towards making the case that they were being reasonable by dealing with the things that they heard.”
The process will continue until the province reaches a decision on the Record Ridge Mining project.
“We look forward to ongoing conversations to demonstrate the positive benefits of the Project for the First Nations and Indigenous people and community,” added Baim.
In the release, WHY also consulted the Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie who said, “We appreciate the constructive approach West High Yield has taken, and we look forward to working with the Company and the B.C. Government to ensure that any decisions going forward reflect an approach that is sustainable and includes the Osoyoos Band.”