The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) today announced they have great concerns about the potential for devastating impacts on Metis harvesting by the Ruttan mine reclamation project currently underway near Leaf Rapids Manitoba.

October 15, 2013

WINNIPEG, MB - The Manitoba Metis Federation Government today announced they are focusing their attention on the impacts of the Ruttan mine reclaimation project currently underway near Leaf Rapids Manitoba.

The mine closed  in 2002 due to depressed mineral markets and record low commodity prices. The tailings and the remaining ore in the open pit produce acid when exposed to oxygen, and must thus be contained to prevent damage to surrounding watersheds and ecosystems. HudBay spent approximately $14 million to contain the tailings and contaminated water on site.

HudBay estimated that it would be approximately 35 years before the open pit would completely fill with run-off water and the site would need further remediation, although in 2008/2009, the Province was notified by the Town of Leaf Rapids that the pit was already dangerously full and remediation needed to begin immediately.

According the MMF Minister Environment and Mining, Edward Charrier, there is tremendous potential for negative impact on current Metis hunting, harvesting and cultural activities, should these problems persist and escalate.

The construction company that is currently is approximately 1 year behind in the outlined tender work and more importantly, an impending threat during this year’s spring thaw of the Ruttan open pit water overflowing into neighbouring Ruttan Lake, contaminating the lake further, threatening ecosystems that Metis and Aboriginal harvesters depend on, and necessitating greater and more expensive reclamation work. The Province would then need to treat the water in Ruttan Lake in addition to the water in the open pit.

It also appears, that the Province is not holding them accountable to their timeline. The construction crew have been contaminating the Town of Lead Rapids by tracking acidic tailings into town on their trucks and boots.

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