The MRC d’Argenteuil says it won’t position itself on the proposed graphite mine in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge before independent studies have been completed.
The MRC council, in a unanimous vote, decided it would not make any decisions regarding Canada Carbon’s project until studies on the quality of underground water, impact of the mine on water in the Calumet and Grenville, air quality, and other subjects have been completed.
The mine, referred to as the Miller Project, would be on lands which are currently part of provincial agricultural reserves. The company has applied to the province (Commission de Protection du Territoire Agricole du Québec or CPTAQ) in order to able to use the land for something besides agriculture.
On December 13, GSLR’s council supported Canada Carbon’s request with a resolution. The resolution, which was supported unanimously, downplays the agricultural potential of the land and recommends supporting Canada Carbon’s request to CPTAQ by recommending it approve Canada Carbon’s request for permission to use the land for non-agricultural purposes. Minutes from an MRC meeting on February 8 say GSLR sent the MRC a letter on December 22, asking for similar support for the mine. The letter said the mine would create “important” economic benefits for the region, according to council documents.
However, in a February 10 Facebook post, Mayor John Saywell announced GSLR council planned on cancelling its December resolution.
MRC council documents also say Grenville council, on February 6, passed a resolution which expressed concern about the proximity of the proposed mine and Grenville’s underground water source, and said a hydrologist should be hired in order to be sure the water in protected.
A citizens committee opposing the mine has been formed, headed by Thomas Arnold. A petition opposing Canada Carbon’s application to CPTAQ has been posted online, and had gathered about 350 signatures as off Thursday, February 16. A spokesperson for the group said 320 physical signatures had also been gathered.
The municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge is hosting an information session at 21 rue Tri-Jean on Wednesday, February 22 at 7 p.m., which will “deal with a number of measures currently under discussion between the town and the citizens committee, and between the town and Canada Carbon,” said Saywell on Facebook. It will follow a special council meeting at 6 p.m. on the same evening.
Canada Carbon, meanwhile, says it will hold the public consultation required by the province “within a few months,” “after the final infrastructure layout is determined.” The company, in a February 13 press release, said it will give notice of the meeting at least 30 days beforehand.