Winnipeg – The Manitoba government has quietly issued an environmental licence for Hudbay’s Reed Mine copper project in Grass River Provincial Park, the first new mine in a provincial park in more than two decades.
“It is hard news to take,” said Eric Reder, Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “Canada stopped mining national parks in 1930. Eight decades later and Manitoba still can’t join the party?”
Hudbay’s Reed Mine is located in Grass River Provincial Park in northwest Manitoba.
Even though Grass River Provincial Park is designated as a provincial park, 99% of the 227,900-hectare park is not protected from development. The nearest large, protected park is over 200 kilometres away.
“Manitoba is shirking its responsibility to protect water and wildlife in the north,” said Reder. “The proof is in the numbers–99% of a park is open for industrial destruction.”
Grass River Provincial Park was established to protect herds of woodland caribou, and to preserve the high quality water of the Grass River. Woodland caribou are protected both federally and provincially under endangered species legislation.
The Upper Grass River is one of only three watersheds in Manitoba that have been formally designated as High Quality Waters by the Manitoba government.
“This mine will impact woodland caribou, and impact water quality in our park,” says Reder. “Authorizing the Reed Mine is a black mark against what parks are supposed to be.”
Tens of thousands of letters have poured into the government over the last few years, asking for industrial activity to be removed from provincial parks.