First Nation land defender camp at Hollow Water First Nation upset at approval of silica mine

The provincial government has given the green light to a silica sand extraction project at Hollow Water First Nation and against the wishes of some people who were against it.

“I just try and remember that this particular cause has only been for five years that we’ve been fighting it, but oppression and colonialism has gone on for over four hundred,” says MJ McCarron, a member of Camp Morningstar that marked its 5th anniversary protesting the project. “This particular situation just goes to show how much work there is left to do”

Camp Morningstar is a group set up in Hollow Water First Nation members.

Located about two and a half hours north of Winnipeg on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg, McCarron says the location is essential to Hollow Water and surrounding communities.

“Well the problem is, is that it’s right in our community. It’s within metres of where people live. It’s also on our community trap line, and it’s kind of like … what Central Park is to New York.”

She says the project also brings up health concerns as silica dust is a carcinogen.

Chief Larry Barker approved the project.

Camp Morningstar filed two appeals to stop the project last year but they were dismissed.

The proponent for the mine is Canadian Premium Sand.

They plan to use the silicia sand to make solar glass for solar panels in Selkirk, Man., 40 minutes north of Winnipeg.

The announcement that solar glass manufacturing facility was given the go-ahead came at the same time the Hollow Water silica mine approval was announced.

But provincial Environment and Climate Change Minister Tracy Schmidt says the government has listened to Camp Morningstar’s concerns and says they’ve been addressed.

“We understand that, you know, any development like this will have people who that champion it and people that oppose it,” said Schmidt in a phone interview earlier today, “We appreciate the concern but we’re quite confident that the proposal put forward by the proponent and the conditions that have been put into the license, we will be able to effectively manage, mitigate, and remediate any of those environmental risks and concerns.”

On Friday, the provincial government announced it’s stopping another silica project in Vivian, Man. because the extraction method would dig through aquifers and could contaminate water for 100,000 Manitobans.

At a news conference in Anola, Manitoba, Schmidt says the Vivian project and Hollow Water project are completely different – the only similarity being the resource mined.

“The [Hollow Water silica sand extraction project] we approved earlier in the week is using a more traditional open-pit mining methods. There is no requirement to dig through aquifers … and there is no impact to drinking water to Manitobans.”


Contribute Button