Wildsight Golden had heard concerns from some local people about the restart of mining in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District near Nicholson, BC. A number of years ago, there was a previous plan and we wanted to address the concerns of that time as well as new worries.
We asked Sinova some questions to address these concerns and here are the results of that communication:
Disturbance to the Columbia Wetlands:
Where will the electricity come from? As we understand, the east sideline doesn’t have enough capacity for this operation.
The electricity will come from the BC Hydro grid as our operations will not have a huge power demand. Concerns in the past regarding power and power access were for the smelter that will now be located in the US.
Are there plans to build a power line planned to cross the wetland to tie into the west side power line?
We do not need to construct a powerline. Our power will come from a small extension from the source close to the existing concrete plant to our site.
Can you tell us about the plans to build a rail siding near Nicholson?
The railway siding will be primarily built on previously disturbed lands to reduce land impacts. The rail siding will reduce the need for truck transportation and allow for the safe movement of our ore to markets.
Could you tell us the actual tonnage you anticipate quarrying?
The permitted tonnage is 1.4 million tonnes per year. We will not likely achieve this amount for at least four years.
How much land expansion is the mine going to encompass, compared to the original mine area?
The total permitted footprint is 31.54 ha. This is an expansion of roughly 5 ha from the existing mine area.
What are the existing permits, if any, and with what ministry? What permits have been applied for? Which of these has been approved?
Permit Q-5.134 was given on January 31, 3021. The mine is now fully permitted to operate.
Have there been hydrogeological surveys done for the surrounding area? If not, do you intend to do these?
During the drilling program for the mine, all of the holes were dry. As there is little to no groundwater in the area, hydrological surveys are not feasible nor necessary. We are, however, doing quarterly water samples in Horse Creek, both above and below the mine, to ensure water quality is maintained in the surrounding area.
What volume of water will be required for the mine and road? Where will that be extracted from? Are water licenses in place?
We are currently in the process of securing a groundwater well license on our private property. Our water usage will be low as the washing plant recycles water in a closed-loop system. We will soon be permitted to withdraw roughly 75 m3 per day. However, we estimate much lower daily volumes due to our water recycling system.
Is a baseline bio-inventory survey planned to monitor the impact on flora and fauna? Are mitigation measures planned?
As this is a previously mined site, detailed baseline surveys would not represent the undisturbed state of flora and fauna and are therefore not required. As a precaution, our consultants, Keefer Ecological Services, have surveyed the site and have found no evidence of rare or threatened species. In addition, we have developed a reclamation plan that will continually monitor impacts and focus on bringing back the native flora and fauna based on surveys of undisturbed areas.
What permitting has been applied for the industrial process? What has been approved?
Crushing gravel does not require a permit.
What has been planned for traffic across Horse Creek Road south from the mine road to the storage sites?
There is a small area where the trucks will interact with Horse Creek Road. Our drivers will be fully trained on safe and courteous operations. Horse Creek Rd already has truck traffic from the neighbouring gravel operations. We do not anticipate our truck operations will significantly increase the current traffic in the area.
What has been planned for traffic at the site, corner of Austin Road and Highway 95?
We have a permit from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways to cross Highway 95 and will soon be erecting signage for safety.
Is there a “hire local” policy for the project?
Yes, where possible, locals will be hired.
What plans are in place for a meeting to answer the concerns of local residents?
We will be setting up various channels of communication. All of which will be in place by January of 2022. Currently, we have the Community Facebook page and folks have been invited to email our communications team through a few mailers.
More information on Sinova.
Image used with permission from Vladimir Patkachakov