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Victory: Canada supports public participation and environmental assessment

Thanks to a court ruling to which AIDA and our allies contributed, Canadian authorities must allow active participation in all mining and industrial megaprojects, as well as comprehensive environmental impact assessments.

The decision came after a long legal battle that began in 2006. That year, an open-pit copper and gold mine called Red Chris was approved without the adequate evaluation of its environmental impacts. It was sleighted to process 30 thousand metric tons a day.

The Imperial Metals company intended to build the mine in the Kapplan River Valley, a remote and pristine natural area home to large mammals such as Dali’s sheep, caribou, bears and moose. In addition, the area is part of the migratory salmon route and the Tathlan indigenous community lives nearby.

The company had fragmented the project into small parts to avoid evaluating the full impact of the project, thus violating international standards and the right to public participation.

In 2009 AIDA filed a brief with Canada’s Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit filed against the project by MiningWatch and Ecojustice.

The ruling remains a powerful tool to protect huge expanses of pristine and valuable land for its biodiversity, water sources, and the culture of indigenous communities.

It was a watershed moment in terms of ensuring companies fulfill their obligations when developing projects that put at risk the natural environment and those who depend on it.