De Beers Refutes CPAWS’ Report on Victor Diamond Mine Contamination

Mining and Exploration
23/12/2015 14:48

De Beers Canada’s senior external and corporate affairs manager Tom Ormsby tells the Canadian Mining Journal (CMJ) that the recent report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's (CPAWS) Wildlands League "is greatly misleading.” The report accuses De Beers Canada and its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario of environmental offenses. CPAWS calls the situation a failure of self-monitoring, accusing the Victor mine of failing to report on five out of nine surface water monitoring stations for the last seven years. Ormsby says that’s not accurate. “All the data is captured. We have 200 groundwater wells, 17 surface water monitoring locations and collect 3,200 water samples each year. In addition, we carry out over 1,200 mercury analyses in surface water in an average year plus another 500+ in groundwater and many hundreds of fish samples ... all the sampling data is provided to the Ministry of Environment per our permits.”

Several factors lead the CMJ to claim the accusation is "very wrong". Sometimes the sampling point changes as the project progresses from construction into operation. Points can be moved to more relevant locations once mining actually begins, just as some did seven years ago at Victor – the time from which Wildlands League is claiming the five of nine surface monitoring stations were no longer being reported, writes CMJ. "The De Beers’ report focuses on meaningful data and all data is available. In a typical year, the company produces 50 separate monitoring reports, totalling 1,500 to 2,000 pages. The Victor water reports are filed with the Ontario environmental minister. That makes them public knowledge," adding that "Such actions don’t sound like those of an organization that has something to hide." CMJ also finds the report's comments about murcury as irrelevant, as murcury in the water there has always been an issue, and the mine is not its source. In short, CMJ concludes that, "Self-reporting is not a problem at the Victor mine, but cherry-picking data points is at CPAWS."