Sask. mining industry applauds speedier environmental reviews
While Shore Gold’s Star-Orion South diamond project located east of Prince
Albert is awaiting environmental approval — a new regulatory system announced in
Thursday’s federal budget will shorten the process for other
The federal government is overhauling its environmental review system which will drastically shorten the amount of time resource projects are hung up in the review stage.
Under the new rules only one review would be required, either at the provincial or federal level, and the entire process would take no longer than 24 months.
The Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) applauds the regulatory reform.
“We think that’s really going be of great assistance in making the system more efficient and more timely, said Pam Schwann, executive director of the SMA.
“It will hopefully affect some of the uranium projects in a more favorable manor because those are the ones that typically get hung up on the federal triggers for environmental assessment more than others.”
Schwann explained that streamlining the review process will also make Canada more competitive on the global stage.
“Right now projects in Australia, that we compete with on some developments, can be reviewed in less than a year and so when you compare investors looking at projects proceeding in the review process in less than a year to in Canada to over seven years, you know where the dollars are going to flow.”
The speedier assessments are part of the government’s plan to encourage economic growth through resource development.
Mining is already a major economic driver for Saskatchewan and the industry is forecasting $50 billion of investments over the next 20 years with the need hire 15,000 workers within 10 years.
Schwann said cutting the red tape may entice even more investment here.
Critics argue the federal government is giving up stewardship of the environment, but Schwann said they’re not asking for lower environmental standards, just a more fair and efficient process.
“I think people have to understand that a review process that takes seven years is certainly not reasonable. If you were an individual that had a project you would think that is awfully cumbersome.”