NDP calls on government to stop irrevocable damage to valuable protected area

The NDP Caucus is concerned about the environmental impact of a mining project in the Avalon wilderness, including an exploration road under construction. Eagleridge International is building an 11 km exploration road for gold mining in the region, which could damage vegetation, watersheds, and the ecosystem.

After meeting with Mike Cooze and the Stop the Eagleridge Gold Mine group, NDP Leader Gerry Rogers had the group accompany her on a site visit of the road, along with Jim Dinn of the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland and Joseph Pennell of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

The exploration road, called the Big Triangle Pond Mineral Access Road, is near both Salmonier Nature Park and the Hawke Hills Ecological Reserve.

Cooze’s advocacy group is calling on government to stop the Eagleridge project and conduct a full environmental impact study. They are concerned that the development of the road, which has already caused damage to the environment, will lead to a fully operational mine.

Rogers says it’s extremely troubling that this road is being built without a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

“PC and Liberal governments have mishandled this project. Despite the advice of officials to reject this project in 2014, government is still allowing it to go ahead instead of acting in the public interest,” said Rogers.

NDP Environment Critic Lorraine Michael says government has a responsibility to protect this area.

“We are calling on government to do the right thing environmentally – not just meet the letter of the law,” Michael said.

The NDP Caucus says this may not be just about a road for exploration, but also about developing a gold mine. If so, it could be a case of project-splitting, wherein someone applies for only part of a much bigger project just to get their foot in the door.

“Besides, this wilderness area is a gold mine in itself, with its potential for ecotourism,” said Rogers. “It’s one of the most valuable wilderness areas in the province.”

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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, 729-2137 (o) or 693-9172 (c).

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